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Brexit Can Still Be Stopped: Tony Blair

IANS

First published: November 25, 2016, 7:31 AM IST | Updated: November 25, 2016
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Brexit Can Still Be Stopped: Tony Blair
File photo of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Reuters)

London: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the British people on Thursday that Brexit can still be stopped.

Xinhua news agency quoted Blair as saying that if the British public were to be given the chance to evaluate whatever final deal Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with Brussels minds could still be made up.

The European Union exit "can be stopped if the British people decide that, having seen what it means, the pain-gain cost-benefit analysis doesn't stack up", said Blair, 63.

The former Labour Party leader said that he was not advocating it should be stopped, rather that it could happen if the reasons were compelling.

"Why wouldn't you keep your options open?" Blair said.

"Why wouldn't you say, 'We took this decision, we took it before we saw what its consequences are; now we see its consequences, we're not so sure,'" Blair told the New Statesman magazine in an interview.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced on Wednesday that "Brexit" will require Britain's Treasury to seek 122 billion pounds ($152 billion, or 143 billion euro) of extra borrowing and new spending plans in between now and 2020.

Blair, who was Britain's Prime Minister between 1997-2007, discarded his return to front-line politics because he considered there was "just too much hostility" towards him.

This year the Labour politician was criticised in a British government report on the Iraq war for authorising the invasion based on "dodgy" intelligence and before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted.

The Conservative cabinet of Prime Minister Theresa May plans to enter official "Leave" negotiations with the European Union before April 2017, after the Brexit option won 51.9 per cent of the votes in the June 23 referendum.

May is waiting for a Supreme Court ruling that could oblige her to seek a parliamentary vote prior to invoking Article 50 that will then kick-start a two-year negotiation period between London and Brussels to agree on the conditions that will enable Britain to exit the European Union.

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