ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Tony Blair announces "mission" to persuade Britons to "rise up" against Brexit

Former PM claims people voted "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit"

Tony Blair announces "mission" to persuade Britons to "rise up" against Brexit
17 February 2017

Hard Brexit? Soft Brexit? Medium rare Brexit? If Tony Blair has his way then the UK won't be leaving the EU at all.

The former British Prime Minister will use a speech later to claim people voted in the referendum "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit", while adding that those leading the withdrawal "always wanted a hard Brexit.”

Blair will warn the Pro-European campaign Open Britain that government policy is now “Brexit at any cost,” stressing that people must come together to prevent the “present rush over the cliff's edge.”

"Our challenge is to expose, relentlessly, the actual cost. To show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge, which will now become informed knowledge. To calculate in 'easy to understand' ways how proceeding will cause real damage to the country and its citizens.”

Who knows, perhaps he’ll win over a few staunch Leave voters too, revealing the actual laws on bananas and how, you know, slavery was pretty uncool.

His comments have already drawn fire from political rivals. Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith, who campaigned to Leave, called Blair's speech “arrogant and utterly undemocratic.”

Since the vote, the former PM has asked that the voices of 16 million people who backed Remain not be ignored, and now argues that there has to be a way, either "through Parliament, or an election, or possibly through another referendum, in which people express their view".

Which is easier said than done of course. Downing Street says it remains “committed to Brexit” – a decision overwhelmingly backed by MPs in the House of Commons last week, which now moves to the House of Lords. Under Theresa May’s plans, Article 50 will be invoked by the end of March, setting formal talks with the EU in motion. So if Blair is going to amass an angry mob to cause a revolution he’s not got a long timeframe.

Calling it his “mission” to persuade Remainers and remorseful Leave voters to “rise up”, there’s no doubt the nation is as divided as ever over the vote to Leave, but is it too little too late?