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17.02.2017 15:28 News >> Tony Blair Urges Britain To 'Rise Up' Against Brexit

Tony Blair Urges Britain To 'Rise Up' Against Brexit

Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday called on the British people to "rise up" against Brexit and stop the country leaving the EU.

Blair -- Labour premier from 1997 to 2007 -- suggested the electorate had not been adequately informed about Brexit before the June 2016 referendum.

However, one current Labour lawmaker, pro-Leave Kate Hoey, quickly described Blair's speech as "patronizing".

"The people voted without knowledge of the terms of Brexit," the former prime minister said at an event hosted by pro-European campaign group Open Britain.

"Indeed even the term 'hard Brexit' requires amendment. The policy is now 'Brexit at any cost'," Blair said.

"Our challenge is to expose, relentlessly, what that cost is," he added.

Blair argued people could change their mind given the developing understanding of what Brexit meant.

"As the terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind. Our mission is to persuade them to do so," he said.

Accusing the current prime minister, Conservative leader Theresa May, of pursuing "Brexit at any cost", Blair said her government had misled the public about the consequences of leaving the EU.

"This is a government for Brexit, of Brexit and dominated by Brexit. It is a mono-purpose political entity," he said.

- Immigration

Blair also touched upon claims made by the Leave campaign on immigration, saying it was highly unlikely that EU workers were taking jobs from British people.

He argued those who voted for Brexit would be disappointed when they realize that non-EU migrants, such as those from Africa and Asia, would not be stopped from coming into the country.

"It is immigration which is driving this debate and when we boil that down we reduce it to prevention of a fraction of the overall numbers," he said.

Also speaking about the current leadership of the Labour Party, Blair said it had become "enablers of Brexit".

He said: "The debilitation of the Labour party is the facilitator of Brexit. I hate to say that but it is true."

"This is not the time for retreat, indifference or despair - but the time to rise up in defense of what we believe," Blair added. -



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