Tony Blair insists result of second Brexit referendum would be 'final'

Posted On: 
25th November 2018

Brexiteers and Remainers should jointly agree that another referendum on leaving the European Union would settle the issue "for a generation", Tony Blair has said.

The Labour ex-PM said he would be 'really surprised' if his party didn't end up backing a second referendum.
Credit: 
PA

The former Prime Minister is a leading supporter a fresh vote on Britain's planned departure from the bloc, arguing that Theresa May will fail to get the EU agreement through Parliament.

In a bid to reassure voters that another referendum would not open the door to a string of re-runs, the Labour grandee said both sides should make it clear it would decisively end the debate.

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"Both the Remain campaign and the Leave campaign should jointly agree that this vote is final, doesn't matter how marginal it is, it's final," Mr Blair told the Andrew Marr show.

He added: "Once this is resolved then that's it for a generation. And I would feel we had had the opportunity to make our case. So I would feel better about it and these Leave people who think it's a botched Brexit, it isn't really Brexit, they would also feel better about it."

Mr Blair's remarks on a referendum closing the issue "for a generation" are likely to raise eyebrows as David Cameron told voters in 2016: "I am absolutely clear a referendum is a referendum, it’s a once in a generation, once in a lifetime opportunity and the result determines the outcome."

The ex-Labour leader said voters should be given a choice between staying in the EU or backing "the Boris Johnson version of Leave", arguing that Mrs May's deal failed to fulfil the promises made to Brexit supporters.

"If you do that and it's a final say and both campaigns agree 'this is it', whatever way we vote, that's it," he said.

"I promise you this: that people like me who voted Remain, if the country votes again to leave I accept it - and I'll get behind and try and make it work."

LABOUR 'MOVING' TO BACKING A SECOND VOTE

Mr Blair meanwhile predicted that Parliament would eventually "get there" in throwing its weight behind a fresh referendum.

While a string of MPs across the Commons have backed the 'People's Vote' campaign for another vote, Labour has said its priority is to push for a general election before considering the "option" of campaigning for a referendum.

But the former Prime Minister insisted that the Labour frontbench was "moving" towards backing a fresh Brexit vote.

He added: "I would be really surprised if the Labour Party doesn't end up in the position of supporting another vote. Because there's no other proposition that can get through Parliament, by the way. People aren't going to vote for this deal."