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Tony Blair urges Theresa May to prepare for Brexit date delay

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Theresa May should prepare to delay the Brexit date to prolong negotiations and allow the British people a “final decision”, Tony Blair will say.

The former Prime Minister's comments will come just a day after the landmark EU Withdrawal Bill was enshrined in law - including the Brexit date of 29 March 2019.

If the two-year Article 50 process were to be extended, it would require agreement between the UK Government and the other 27 EU member states.

But in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London, former Labour leader Mr Blair will argue the negotiations have been "drifting" and an extension might be needed.

"We should plan now for the possibility we need to extend the March 2019 deadline," he will say. "Presently, we are drifting... with no clear negotiating position, no resolution of the Northern Ireland question, still vaguely hoping Europe will allow us access to the single market without abiding by its rules, which it will never do."

And he will suggest parliament must “assert itself” and set the ball rolling on another referendum - a move both main parties have ruled out.

"The people must make the final decision because only they have the right to decide what version of Brexit they want or whether in the light of all they now know they prefer to remain," Mr Blair will say.

Elsewhere, the former premier will say the Prime Minister is “more hostage” to the warring factions of her party than a leader, and he will blast Jeremy Corbyn for “neglecting to lead the fight”.

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