The former Labor Prime Minister reveals that Keir Starmer would have endorsed the vote in the House of Commons
Tony Blair, who was one of the most influential proponents of a second referendum on EU membership, said he would back the post-Brexit trade agreement between Boris Johnson and Brussels in the House of Commons.
The former prime minister announced that he would have endorsed Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who convinced his MPs last week before the end of the transition period to vote for the prime minister’s agreement with the EU.
After opposing Starmer and refusing to vote for the offer, three junior Labor frontbenchers resigned. Among the 36 party MPs who abstained, they were. One Labour MP went further and voted against the deal, which on Dec. 30 sailed through the mechanism of parliamentary approval.
Starmer, who agreed that Johnson’s election win in late 2019 had “blown away” the argument for a second Brexit referendum before becoming party leader last year, had announced Labour’s support for the trade deal between the prime minister and the EU after an agreement was reached on Christmas Eve.
Asked if he would vote for the agreement in the House of Commons, Blair, who during the 2016 Brexit referendum was among the highest-profile members of the remaining party, told Times Radio on Sunday, “I would have supported the government leader on this.”
I mean, look, it’s a political issue for the Labour Party because the issue is… it’s open to your adversaries to say that you’re voting for no compromise if you don’t accept the contract.
“He continued, “On this topic, I would have supported the party leader.
Look, there were reasons for abstaining and there were arguments for… voting for it because no agreement is the alternative.
He said, “I don’t think it matters either way to the Labour Party in particular.”
What counts, I guess, is that we are still in a position where we are pointing out what the issues with this agreement are.
Separately, Blair argued in an article published Sunday that while he is “passionately opposed” to Brexit and that he has not changed his mind about its “wisdom,” it is now a “reality” and “we have to make the best of it.”
Meanwhile, after Brexit, Johnson announced he would hold on as prime minister and tried to downplay trade bureaucracy concerns after the U.K. Officially cut relations at 11 p.m. with the EU Thursday following the conclusion of the timeframe for the transfer.
“Of course there will be changes, we’ve made that clear,” said the Prime Minister on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, adding, “In fact, I think there’s a great opportunity for UK SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises]and exporters of all kinds.”
“What we’ve seen is that a lot of businesses in this country are not exporting the way they could … the tragic reality of … Business is that there is a certain amount of bureaucracy. We’re trying to eliminate it, but we have a huge opportunity to expand our horizons, think globally and think big.”
Asked if, after Brexit, he will serve as prime minister, Johnson said, “Yes.”
We have freedoms now that we haven’t had for 50 years,”We have freedoms now that we haven’t had for 50 years, and there are many reasons to be very positive about this otherwise gloomy new year.”and there are many reasons for being very positive about this otherwise gloomy new year.