TONY BLAIR’S latest anti-Brexit crusade was dealt a devastating blow after the former Prime Minister declared he could reform the European Union if the UK were to remain a member.
BBC host Nick Robinson slapped down the staunch Remainer, who vowed to return to politics to thwart Brexit, over his proposed negotiations with the bloc’s leaders.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Blair hinted some EU leaders may be prepared to be flexible on the free movement of people to help Britain stay in its single market.
He told Robinson one was for Britain was “staying within a reformed EU”, but refused to reveal who he had held conversations with over Britain being given tighter control of their borders as an EU member.
Starting the interview, Robinson challenged his Remoaner campaign, which goes against the will of the British people, but said he would hear out his new ideas.
The host said: “Some people will say, is he an incurable optimist or is he delusional?
“These are all arguments you made in the referendum and some others did, but forgive me you lost!
“I could come back at you with all sorts of answers but, in a sense, I don’t want to. I want to ask you about the fresh argument you’re making today.”
Mr Blair replied, claiming the situation in Europe is different to how it had been a year ago when Britain voted to quit the EU, a move he says is “the most serious it’s taken since the Second World War”.
He adds: “Europe itself is now looking at its own reform programme. They will have an inner circle in the EU that will be part of the eurozone and an outer circle.
“They will make reforms that I think will make it much more comfortable for Britain to fit itself in that outer circle.”
The “majorities” of people in France, Germany and the UK supported changes pushed by David Cameron surrounding changes to benefits for those who come to Europe without a job.
However, Robinson couldn’t help but interject, taking a dig at Mr Blair and the stubbornness of Brussels when it comes to listening to potential reform.
“You know what Chancellor Merkel said, ‘Were we to make an exception for the freedom of movement of people with Britain, that would endanger principles of the whole internal market’.
“Junker says, ‘The British people have to know that there’ll be no kind of renegotiation’.
“Barnier, the chief negotiator, said we must accept freedom of movement without exception.
“They’re the sort of things Cameron tried to negotiate and got a bit of and others he didn’t get anywhere on, you’re saying there’s dialogue we could have?”
The host concluded: “The phrasing I used at the beginning: incurable optimism or delusional, the reason I did that is because I think lots of people listening to you would say I allowed myself to believe the EU reform – it never, ever happens, they carry on!”