WATCH Tony Blair: It is possible that Brexit will not happen

Posted On: 
16th July 2017

Tony Blair has said he believes that Britain may not end up leaving the European Union.

Tony Blair addressing the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington earlier this year.
Credit: 
PA Images

The former Prime Minister said it was "possible now that Brexit doesn't happen".

He also claimed it was "absolutely necessary" for the UK economy that Brexit is avoided.

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The ex-Labour leader made his comments in an interview for Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

He said: "I think it's possible now that Brexit doesn't happen.

"I think it's absolutely necessary that it doesn't happen because I think every day is bringing us fresh evidence that it's doing us damage economically, certainly doing us damage politically."

He claimed Leave voters could be swayed to believe quitting the European Union was a bad idea because of the economy’s downturn.

"I think public opinion is moving on it," he said. "This time last year we were the fastest growing economy in the G7, we're now the slowest.

"Our savings ratio is at the lowest for 50 years, the investment community internationally has now gone really negative on us, our currency's down 10-12%, investment in the motor car industry, for example, is down 30%, living standards are stagnating.

"This is causing us real damage, that's beyond doubt."

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell also delivered a stark warning this morning, as he called on ministers to “start being honest about the complexity of the challenge”.

“The EU has clear negotiating guidelines, while it appears that cabinet members haven’t yet finished negotiating with each other, never mind the EU,” he wrote in the Observer.

“There is no chance all the details will be hammered out in 20 months...We will need a long transition phase and the time needed does not diminish by pretending that this phase is just about ‘implementing’ agreed policies as they will not all be agreed.”

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain’s former ambassador to the EU, told the same paper that the Government appeared to be “defending a set of propositions that feel tired and totally unrealistic and removed from the realities of these negotiations”.

He said there is a “one-in-three” chance the negotiations will break down if they “don’t move more in the direction of common sense and economic sense”.

Brexit Secretary David Davis is set to go to Brussels this week to tell Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, that the Government does not want the European Court of Justice to have a say on the UK's cases after Britain leaves the bloc.

He will tell Mr Barnier: “If you’re Manchester United and you go and play Real Madrid, are you going to let Real Madrid nominate the referee?”

‘WAY OFF’

Elsewhere in his interview, Mr Blair admitted he was “way off” about his predictions of how Labour would do in the general election, but said it had been held in “extraordinary circumstances”.

The former prime minister, who has been a long-standing and vocal opponent to Mr Corbyn, said: “I actually think at the beginning of the election campaign, we were going to be routed.

"I think what happened was as much to do with the Tory campaign as our campaign. However, I say this absolutely up front... I've got to pay tribute to his temperament during the campaign.

"To their mobilisation particularly of younger voters, to the way they fought the campaign and they generated a lot of enthusiasm, I completely buy that."

Watch his comments here: