Tony Blair shoots down Theresa May's 'Brexit minister' plan

Posted On: 
1st July 2016

Tony Blair has dismissed Theresa May's suggestion that a Brexit minister should lead negotiations to take Britain out of the EU.

Tony Blair
PA Images

The Home Secretary yesterday proposed a new department to handle Brexit talks, to be led by somebody who had backed a Leave vote, as part of her pitch for No 10.

But europhile former Prime Minister Mr Blair dismissed the approach as an internal Tory olive branch and questioned whether it made sense.

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In an article for the Daily Telegraph laying out the challenge ahead for Britain as it exits the bloc, the Labour grandee said:

“The next weeks are vital in the signals we send to Europe and the way Britain is perceived.

“For example, Theresa May says she will have a Brexit Minister conduct the negotiation for Britain.

“OK, I understand the Tory politics of that; but is it really sensible for the country?”

Mr Blair also argued the complexities of the Brexit talks would require “serious statesmanship”.

“Throughout, we must intensely engage with Europe, sussing out, smoothing over, spying out the room for manoeuvre,” he wrote.

“There is going to be a negotiation of extraordinary complexity where there are a thousand devils in every detail.

“Those we used to call 'our European partners' are, unsurprisingly, divided and uncertain themselves.

“Some want us out fast. Some agree to delay the Article 50 [exit] process. This needs serious statesmanship.”