Tony Blair joins calls to delay Brexit, saying an extension to Article 50 is 'inevitable'

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<em>Tony Blair has joined calls for a Brexit delay (Picture: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)</em>
Tony Blair has joined calls for a Brexit delay (Picture: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

Tony Blair has joined calls for a Brexit delay, saying Theresa May should be asking the EU for an extension to Article 50.

The former Prime Minister told Radio 4 said an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process is now almost “inevitable”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If I was the government now I would already be having discussions with Europe about the terms of an extension.

“I would be saying, ‘look, we need further time to clarify what Parliament wants’ and, as I say, essentially I think there are these choices – you can do a soft Brexit, hard Brexit or back to the people.

“I would say, ‘we need further time to clarify that’, or alternatively once you run that, if there’s a majority for a referendum, there may not be, but if there is then of course you need the time to do that.”

The clock is ticking for Mr May, with Labour refusing to take part in any cross-party talks unless she takes the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit off the table.

It has also emerged that the EU could be preparing to offer a delay in Brexit until next year, with French and German officials believing the UK to be in such a logjam that it will take at least 12 months to resolve.

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Mr Blair, who backs a second referendum, criticised Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to meet Mrs May.

He said: “If, in a moment of national crisis, the Prime Minister asks the Leader of the Opposition to come and talk, of course he should.”

He also said that the Labour leader needs to clarify his stance on Brexit.

“At some point he is going to have to make his position clear,” he said.

“It is quite hard to read the runes sometimes in Labour policy right now, but, as I understand, our position is that if the no confidence motion fails, as it has, then there is an overwhelming majority for supporting putting this back to the people.”

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