Tony Blair: General election and second referendum could happen on the same day

Posted On: 
27th October 2019

Tony Blair has said a general election and second EU referendum could take place on the same day.

Tony Blair says an election should not take place before no deal is off the table.
PA Images

The former Prime Minister said that could be one way of dealing with the ongoing Brexit deadlock - although it was not his preferred option.

Speaking to Radio Four's 'Westminster Hour', he said: "You can deal with them both on the same day if you want. But you should deal with them separately."

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Mr Blair also said that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right to resist a general election - which Boris Johnson wants to happen on 12 December - until a no-deal Brexit is completely ruled out.

He said MPs should instead try to amend the Withdrawwal Agreement Bill to make sure the UK can only leave the EU with a deal in place.

The ex-Labour leader said: "The sensible thing for him [Jeremy Corbyn] to say to Boris Johnson is, ‘Yes, I’ll agree to your general election, but you’ve got to agree to timetable proper scrutiny of your bill and allow us to amend that so that we rule out no deal as the outcome of the future negotiation’. Because otherwise Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t prevented no deal.

He [Jeremy Corbyn] can make that happen. He can say the moment that’s done properly, he’s up for a general election. But it’s got to encompass the future negotiations and not simply the exit deal."

Mr Blair added: "Why don’t we just be honest about this? The reason why Boris Johnson wants an election is because he thinks he gets into an election and says to the country, ‘look, you might not like what I’m doing on Brexit but if you don’t vote for me, you’re going to get Jeremy Corbyn’. That’s what he thinks."

Elsewhere in the interview, the forme PM also hit out at the deal for putting a regulatory and customs border in the Irish Sea.

He said: "His deal separates Britain and Northern Ireland. His deal locks Northern Ireland into the trading system of the European Union and the same trading system as the Republic of Ireland and it separates Britain.

"So 98% of the population are left with a hard Brexit while 2% get a soft Brexit."

And asked if Mr Corbyn could become Prime Minister once the election eventually happens, Mr Blair said: "Well it’s possible isn’t it? In today’s world anything is possible.

"Who can predict anything about British politics?"