Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for the deadline for Brexit negotiations to be extended, in a speech at Chatham House Think Tank on Wednesday.
“We should plan now for the possibility we need to extend the March 2019 deadline,” Mr Blair said during his speech.
“Presently, we are drifting… with no clear negotiating position, no resolution of the Northern Ireland question, still vaguely hoping Europe will allow us access to the single market without abiding by its rules, which it will never do.”
Alongside warning of the complicated and intricate nature of negotiating Brexit, Blair also expressed concern about the spread of nationalist populist sentiment across the globe.
“Once it is clear the populism isn’t working because, ultimately, it offers only expressions of anger and not effective answers, the populists may double down, alleging that failure is the result of half-heartedness and that only more of the same will work.
“Who knows where the dynamic of that scenario takes us. Then the comparisons with the 1930s no longer seem far-fetched.”
Addressing the Trump Administration in particular, Mr Blair called for reassurance that the special relationship between the US and the UK remained intact.
“We need to know from the current American administration and its president that our alliance matters, that it is regarded, historically and contemporaneously, as a vital American strategic interest.”
“We are losing sight of the values which brought the west together, saw it through the menace of fascism and communism”, he added.
“The fightback will require self-criticism, new thinking and muscularity in defence of reason. But it better begin soon”. Read Tony Blair’s @ChathamHouse speech in full and share: https://t.co/wyQ4k09GZr
— Tony Blair Institute (@InstituteGC) June 27, 2018
The Former PM has particularly vocal about his opposition to Brexit, in particular calling for the necessity for a second referendum to decide the issue.
Moreover, the former Labour party leader has also been a consistent critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Whilst Blair was known for revitalising the party and championing the centre back in the 90’s, Corbyn has long established himself as more heavily aligned with a more left-leaning agenda reminiscent of the Labour of the 70’s and 80’s.
Despite winning three landslide elections, Blair’s political influence has steadily declined as the public have condemned his involvement in the invasion of Iraq back in 2003, alongside the lucrative career he has enjoyed after leaving office.
According to a poll conducted by The Independent in May of last year, Blair is now less popular than current leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Nevertheless, Blair remains Labour’s most electorally successful leader, having won a majority in all three elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005.