The former Prime Minister has been roundly panned for a lengthy Brexit speech yesterday, in which he argued Leave voters didn’t really understand what they were voting for.
He said the European Union exit could still be blocked and vowed to personally lead an “opposition” against Britain leaving the bloc.
The rant has gone down like a lead balloon – especially in Stoke, where 82,000 Leave voters handily outnumbered the 36,000 who voted Remain.
Tony Blair may have just torpedoed Labour's chances in Stoke
Labour is now desperately scrambling to undo the damage done by their bumbling former leader yesterday and ensure the speech doesn’t completely torpedo their chances in the ultra-competitive by-election – handing a victory to Ukip.
Labour’s shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman desperately rowed back Mr Blair’s comments yesterday, saying his comments won’t “cut much ice” outside of the Westminster bubble.
Tony Blair said Leave voters did not understand what they were doing
She said: “[Opposing Brexit] would be a mistake and I don’t think that is where the majority of the country is – whether they voted Leave or Remain.
“Especially outside of London, I don’t think that’s going to cut much ice.”
While Jeremy Corbyn kept schtum as usual, key ally Richard Burton also weighed in against Mr Blair, stating he was “wrong on this and Labour is right to disagree with him”.
The former PM has been roundly criticised by his own party
Labour MP Caroline flint also stuck the knife in.
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She said: “I think it is bad advice because what Tony seems to be advocating is leaving is not inevitable and if people work hard enough he’s hoping he can force with others a second referendum.”
Remoaner-in-chief: Tony Blair's Views on Brexit
Fri, February 17, 2017
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'It can be stopped, if the British people decide that having seen what it means, the pain-gain analysis doesn’t stack up'
Mr Blair’s comments have been criticised from all corners – other than by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said he was talking “common sense”.
Mr Blair said yesterday: “Yes, the British people voted to leave Europe and I agree the will of the people should prevail. I accept right now there is no widespread appetite to re-think.
The Stoke Central by-election could go down to the wire
People voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit
“But the people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind. Our mission is to persuade them to do so.
“What was unfortunately only dim in our sight before the referendum is now in plain sight. The road we’re going down is not simply Hard Brexit. It is Brexit at any cost.”