EXCL Former key adviser to Tony Blair says Brexit will not happen
A former top adviser to Tony Blair has predicted that Brexit will never happen.
Darren Murphy, who was assistant political secretary to the ex-Prime Minister, also said he believed Labour will end up voting against the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which aims to transfer European law onto the UK statute book on the first day after Brexit.
He made the claims in a central London 'Evening With The Editors' debate hosted by Dods Group.
Asked whether the Government will manage to agree a deal with the EU before 30 March 2019, Mr Murphy said: "I don't think Brexit will happen. I don't think the Government has the votes."
His comment emerged just a day after Tony Blair said there was a one-in-three chance that the result of the EU referendum could be overturned.
Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to vote against the EU (Withdrawal Bill) when it had its second reading in the Commons last week, claiming it represented an unprecedented "power grab" by the Government.
The Labour leader insisted that his party did not want to frustrate the outcome of the EU referendum.
But asked how he thought Labour would act when the bill returns for its crucial third reading, Mr Murphy said: "I think Labour will vote against this particular piece of legislation. I don't think that's the same as voting against Brexit.
"I would like the Labour party to vote against Brexit if it ever gets back to the House of Commons. I
"t's all very well to say some seats voted in one direction and some seats voted another, but in the end you elect a member of parliament not to go there as some kind of delegate, but you elect members of parliament to actually give a lead to public opinion, not follow it.
"And since the referendum there's been one other far more democratic event and that's called a general election. We had a government that said 'we need a strong negotiating position, give us a bigger majority' and they had their majority taken away."
He added: "I think given what happened on second reading and given the opposition in the House of Lords and in the Commons, I would be very interested to see if it's possible to get that through.
"I don't think the Government is very confident that it can get a piece of legislation through unless it's very heavily amended."
Watch below from 7:20.
According to reports, Theresa May will use a major speech in Florence on Friday to signal that the UK will continue to pay into the EU's coffers until at least the end of 2020.
Britain is prepared to plug an £18bn black hole to be caused by Brexit in a bid to kickstart talks on the UK's future trading relationship with the bloc.
However, the run-up to her keynote address has been overshadowed by an extraordinary row following Boris Johnson's decision to write a 4,000-word article for the Daily Telegraph setting out his vision for Brexit.
It was even claimed yesterday that he was planning to quit by the weekend if the Prime Minister signalled support for a soft Brexit - although that has been strenuously denied by Mr Johnson.
* You can watch the full 'An Evening With The Editors' debate here