Tony Blair has told Labour voters they should vote against his party in the European elections if they cannot bring themselves to back Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit.
The party’s most electorally successful leader in history said he had met many Labour voters who ‘can’t vote Labour at the moment’.
Warning there would be a post-election analysis of the result with a ‘totting up’ of the votes, he told Sky’s Sophie Ridge this morning: ‘It’s important the anti-Brexit side of the ledger is stronger than the pro-Farage side.’
Mr Blair said: ‘I do come across Labour people who can’t vote Labour at the moment, so I say to them “don’t stay home. go out and vote for an avowedly Remain party”.
Saying ‘it’s not so much the seats it’s the percentage of the vote,’ he said Remain voters should be working to show they opposed the type of hard or no-deal Brexit backed by Nigel Farage.
He said: ‘I understand there are a lot of people who say “Labour has been hopeless on the question of Brexit and I’m not prepared to do that.”
‘And what I say to them is: “Don’t stay at home, because if you do, then that pro-Farage hard or no-deal Brexit … that would do enormous damage to our country, if you care about stopping that, get on the other side of the ledger”.’
He acknowledge Labour is not unequivocally Remain but said it ‘just about gets there’ to qualify as a Remain party and that he would be voting Labour on that basis.
As a new poll puts the Brexit Party on 34 per cent, he said: ‘Nigel Farage and the people associated with him, they’re not the people to drain the swamp of British politics they’re the people who created the swamp.
He said they promised that Brexit was the answer to ‘everything’ while in fact, he said, it was the ‘answer to nothing’ and that decisions that would affect people’s lives were taken in the UK.
He said the Brexit debate was based on a ‘myth’ that the UK is not in control of its own policies.
Delays to the Withdrawal Agreement mean that the country will go to the polls on May 23 to elect 73 MEPs for the United Kingdom to sit in Brussels.
This morning Mr Blair called on Theresa May to ‘force’ MPs to decide between hard, soft and no deal Brexit and then attach a confirmatory second referendum to the vote – which he said would be a ‘healing process’.
Taking another shot at the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, he said ‘any Opposition party ca win local elections’ adding that in his 40 years in politics it had been posisble ‘no matter how difficult’ the circumstances – but pointed out Labour had lost councillors in the votes earlier this month.
It comes after he wrote in the Observer today of ‘destructive indecision’ in the party.
He wrote: ‘The local elections were terrible for the Conservatives but, on any rational analysis, devastating for Labour.
‘We are almost 10 years into austerity, with the public realm – Labour’s political sweet spot – in disrepair. Yet Labour could not even win the local elections.’