Tony Blair calls Tory Brexit promise a ‘fantasy’ and says Labour majority a ‘risk’

Ross McGuinness

Tony Blair has branded the Conservative Party’s plan to deliver Brexit a “fantasy”.

The former Labour prime minister said he “wouldn’t trust Boris Johnson with a blank cheque”.

However, Mr Blair also had strong criticism for Jeremy Corbyn, saying a Labour majority is just as risky as a Tory one, and that Labour was also “peddling fantasies”.

The Conservative Party launched its manifesto on Sunday, pledging to spend 27 times less than Labour in new funding.

Speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event on Monday, Mr Blair described the state of British politics as “utterly dysfunctional”.

He said: “The Conservative Party say vote Tory and Brexit will be done; it will be over. They even add – do it and we can get back to dealing with the important issues.

“The cheek is quite breathtaking. So, having visited this debacle upon us, which has distracted us from those big issues for over three years, they now use the distraction as a reason for doing Brexit, not abandoning it.

Tony Blair had harsh words for Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn (Picture: PA)
Tony Blair had harsh words for Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn (PA)

“But it appeals. It is, however, a fantasy. Brexit isn’t over on 12 December, nor even on 31 January next year. We immediately begin the new phase of Brexit negotiation.”

Mr Blair said the British people have not been swayed by the promises of both the Conservatives and Labour.

Last week, Mr Corbyn said he would remain neutral in the event of a second Brexit referendum.

“The truth is: the public aren’t convinced either main party deserve to win this election outright,” he said.

“They’re peddling two sets of fantasies; and both, as majority governments, pose a risk it would be unwise for the country to take.

"Both as majority governments pose a risk. It's just that the chances I think of Labour doing that are – if the polls are right – negligible.

"I don't think a majority government of either side is a good thing.

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"We have got to decide Brexit on its merits and then you've got to decide who runs the country on its merits."

Mr Blair said he would still vote Labour but could understand why people might vote for Liberal Democrat candidates.

On Labour, he said: "The Labour Party manifesto is heralded by its leadership as the most radical ever.

"This is true. It promises a revolution and if implemented it would indeed amount to one. The problem with revolutions is never how they begin but how they end."

Tony Blair said either a Conservative or Labour majority would pose a risk to the UK (Picture: PA)
Tony Blair said either a Conservative or Labour majority would pose a risk to the UK (PA)

He added: "The polls predict a Conservative victory and put the chances of an outright Labour victory as negligible. But I wouldn't trust Boris Johnson with a blank cheque."

Mr Blair said: "The Conservatives calculate that they can force people to elect them, despite worry over Brexit, because Jeremy Corbyn is the alternative.

"The Labour Party leadership calculate they can combine traditional Labour support around issues like the NHS, with Remain voters who hate Brexit, despite fear about the Labour leader.

"In other words, both parties want to win on the basis that whatever your dislike of what they're offering, the alternative is worse."

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