17th February 2017
The former prime minister said voters backed severing ties with Brussels without knowing the true cost and should have the chance to change their minds.
In a keynote speech in London, Mr Blair questioned whether the referendum had given a mandate for “Brexit at any cost”.
Answering questions afterwards, he rejected suggestions he should shoulder some of the blame for the result because he failed to impose controls on immigration from the EU when he was in Downing Street.
In the speech Mr Blair also warned that leaving the EU meant the break-up of the UK was “back on the table”, giving the SNP a more credible case for Scottish independence.
Mr Blair hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, saying that in the absence of what he called an effective opposition, pro-Europeans need to build a movement that reached across party lines.
“The debilitation of the Labour Party is the facilitator of Brexit. I hate to say that, but it is true,” he told the audience.
But Mr Blair’s intervention in the debate has already provoked a bitter backlash from leading Brexit supporters.
His stance also puts him at odds with Mr Corbyn, who last week ordered Labour MPs to vote for the Government’s Article 50 bill to trigger the start of Brexit.
Responding to Mr Blair’s speech, Dominic Raab – a member of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee – said he was living in denial.
“Tony Blair, who allowed uncontrolled migration from the EU when Labour was in power, refuses to accept the decision people made last June,” Mr Raab said.
“He wants to go on putting the question over and over again until he gets a different answer.
“It is the height of arrogance and nothing could be more likely to convince the EU to offer the UK the worst possible deal than his suggestion that the decision could be overturned.”