The former Prime Minister issued a number of warnings during a speech this morning, lashing out at the state of British politics and raging the country is in a “mess”. Mr Blair, who is an opponent of Brexit, has argued for a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union and said it saying it would need to be followed by another general election. Speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event, he warned he has spoken to several people in Europe recently and not one believes Britain will reach an agreement on leaving the bloc, based on the timeline from the Tories.
Boris Johnson has pledged pledged to take Britain out of the EU by Jan. 31 if he wins a parliamentary majority and then to negotiate a comprehensive deal with the bloc covering trade and future relations during a transition period due to end next December.
But Mr Blair has cast serious doubt over this and said there was still a risk that Britain could exit the EU in a year’s time without having struck a deal with its biggest trading partner.
He said: “I have spoken to many people in Europe over the past few weeks. Not a single person believes that there is any prospect of Britain reaching agreement with Europe on this (Conservative Party) timeline, if its position is divergence on rule making.
“On the contrary, they assert that Europe would be vigilant to ensure there was no ‘unfair competition’, particularly around tax and regulation.
“No Deal Brexit is not off the table. It is slap bang in the middle of it and if they mean their manifesto commitment to no extension past 2020, it is the probable outcome.”
The former Prime Minister also hit out at the current state of British politics, raging it is “utterly dysfunctional” and that the country is a “mess”.
“Britain is home to a unique political experiment. We are testing – hopefully not to destruction – whether it is possible for a major developed nation to turn its politics into chaos and survive without serious economic and social damage to its essential fabric.
“Populism of all sorts is rampant world-wide. My Institute has outlined the causes elsewhere. But in most cases the populism is focused on a Leader. Leaders are transient.
“In Britain our populism focused on a policy – Brexit – which may be permanent.
“In June 2016, we were a reasonably successful and influential power, our economy the fastest growing in the G7, London possibly the premier financial centre of the globe, our technology sector the strongest in Europe, our society riven with inequalities and unacceptable levels of poverty due to austerity post the financial crisis; but nonetheless a country able to ease itself out of austerity and repair its social cohesion should it choose to.
“Fast forward to today and we’re a mess. The buoyancy of the world economy has kept us going up to now, but should that falter, we will be in deep trouble.
“Our politics is utterly dysfunctional. If Brexit is blocked in Parliament, the way to unblock it is to go back to the people who originally mandated it. It is a specific issue and should be decided specifically.
“The truth is: the public aren’t convinced either main party deserve to win this election outright.
“They’re peddling two sets of fantasies; and both, as majority governments, pose a risk it would be unwise for the country to take.
This is a breaking story. More to follow.