Tony Blair has pledged to re-enter politics, even if he gets a ‘bucket of wotsit’ thrown over him, and insists derailing Brexit is not ‘defying the will of the people’.
The former prime minister said he would not return to Parliament but Brexit had persuaded him to rejoin the political scene, although he admitted he finds it hard to be hated by some people.
He has called on Labour voters to consider backing pro-EU Tories and Liberal Democrats and insisted Brexit was ‘bigger than party allegiance’ and even suggested voters look at who is their most pro-EU candidate locally – even if they are Tories.
Last night he told the Daily Mirror: ‘You need to get your hands dirty and I will. This is not about defying the will of the people. It is saying the will of the people may change when they see the final deal.’
He added: ‘My prediction is it may take another generation but at some point we will want to be back in the EU’.
‘We don’t know yet what the final deal on Brexit will be. We are advocating a very simple British common sense position, which is to say: ‘Let’s see what the Tories come up with first’. Because there is a bit of the Tory Party determined to deliver Brexit no matter what the cost.
Mr Blair said he had put £10million into his institute to pursue his causes and to support younger politicians.
The ex-PM also claimed he was tough on immigration even though he rejected curbs on Eastern Europeans coming to Britain after 2004.
Mr Blair denied this decision had led to the Brexit vote, saying: ‘Some of the first legislative battles I had were on reforms to immigration.
‘I advocated identity cards precisely because I understood people wanted rules around immigration and I knew that without rules there would be prejudices. So I completely get people’s concerns on immigration.’
In the interview he claimed Labour could return to government and leave the Tories ‘flat on their backs’ if it regained the centre ground of politics.
But he said that because of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, the choice for voters was between ‘a hard Brexit Tory party and a hard left Labour party’, leaving millions of voters politically ‘homeless’.