Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the former prime minister – one of the most prominent anti-Brexit campaigners – said he accepted last year’s Leave vote but that there were ways of controlling EU immigration without leaving.
“Brexit is a distraction, not a solution, to the problems this country is facing,” he said.
Mr Blair said he believed Brexit would go ahead “unless it starts to become obvious that the public is having second thoughts” – and that “hasn’t become obvious yet”.
“If we put this case to people, maybe they will listen. If they don’t – I accept it goes forward,” he said.
Mr Blair said: “The situation back then was different.”
He told the Marr show the economy had been strong when he left office in 2007 before the financial crash, adding: “You’ve got to listen to what people are saying and react to it.”
“It’s a bit late now, this epiphany”, responded Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon on the Marr show.
Sir Michael said “election after election” had shown the public wanted “proper controls” over immigration.
“I think it’s a pity he didn’t think of that when all these new countries were admitted to the European Union on his watch,” he added.
Pro-EU Conservative Ken Clarke told Sky News it was “hopeless” to think the UK could stay in the EU, given the “mood of the country”.
“There are better ways of dealing with the country’s problems than #Brexit”
Tony Blair calls for the UK to stay in the EU, but with new controls on migration. http://bbc.in/2wQvKA8
(via BBC News)
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