Tony Blair has called on Remainers and Brexiteers to come together to defeat Theresa May’s plan for leaving the European Union
The former prime minister dismissed the compromise plan agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers and set out in the white paper as “mush” and said it should be “decisively” rejected by parliament.
In an article published by his Institute for Global Change think tank, he said he understood the arguments of business leaders who supported the plan in order to end the “agony” of Brexit, but said their position was “fatally flawed”.
“I fully accept the Prime Minister is putting forward the government white paper as a well-intentioned attempt to do Brexit whilst minimising the economic disruption to Britain,” he said.
“But this solution – half in/half out – won’t work, won’t end the argument and will simply mean a confused outcome in which we continue to abide by Europe’s rules whilst losing our say over them. Parliament should reject this solution decisively.”
He went on: “A genuine ‘soft’ Brexit would obviously be less damaging than a hard Brexit, though it would highlight the ‘what’s the point’ nature of this choice. But this Brexit is just mush.
“It is not making the best of a bad job. It is the worst of both worlds. This is where true Remainers and true Leavers make common cause.
“The practical upshot of this proposal is to tie us to Europe over large parts of economic life, without a say in its rules. This is intrinsically a dismal outcome which reduces British influence for no or negligible gain.”
Mr Blair said that in “any rational world” the solution would be to go back to the people for a resolution.
“It would not be a re-run of the 2016 referendum. Two major things have changed since then,” he said.
“Our quantum of knowledge about the issue and particularly about the consequences of leaving the single market and customs union is vastly enlarged.
“And there is fundamental disagreement about what Brexit means between supporters of Brexit.”