Tony Blair: The reason I didn’t hold a EU referendum


Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed that he chose not to hold a EU referendum of his own because he thought he would lose.

Mr Blair stepped back into UK politics with a declaration that it was not too late to stop Brexit if that is what the British public want. The controversial prime minister said many supporters of the Brexit campaign may now have changed their minds as a result of the detrimental effect the vote to leave has had on the British economy.

His comments were made before it emerged that he has been embroiled in discussions with the former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg about how they can keep Britain within Europe. Mr Blair said he considered himself an “insurgent,” adding that the impact on sterling and Britain Plc from deciding to leave the EU would be huge, and could affect families in the UK for a decade.


Acknowledging that his demands for a second referendum have been described as treason given that democracy has already spoken in favour of Brexit, he added that he is now looking to plough his own money into building a movement against leaving.

He said his aim was to persuade the “politically homeless” that leaving was not in the British interest. The former PM said that slowing down the process in Parliament could give people time to rethink their decision.

He said: “It can be stopped if the British people decide that, having seen what it means, the pain-gain cost-benefit analysis doesn’t stack up. I’m not saying it will, but it could. In the end, for a large number of people, even those who voted Leave, they will look at this in a practical way, not an ideological way.”

However, Mr Blair said he intended to remain slightly behind the scenes rather than making a return to frontline politics as he knew there was hostility towards him.