The former Prime Minister commissioned a report demanding Boris Johnson delay Brexit by 12 months to avoid a “disastrous no deal” because it is now “too late” to strike an agreement with Brussels. The study, commissioned by the Tony Blair Institute and written by author Anton Spisak, warned it would be a “grave mistake” for the UK not to agree a delay at the same time it faces a “deep recession” from the coronavirus crisis. The report said there is “a landing zone for a sensible compromise” between the UK and European Union to agree on a deal, and argued the “responsible” thing to do was agree on a “standstill” implementation period.
But the demand from arch-Remainer Mr Blair has infuriated Express.co.uk readers, who have told the former prime minister to finally accept the result of the EU referendum from 2016.
The latest poll, which ran from 12.30pm until 9.30pm on Thursday July 16 and saw a total of 23,616 readers vote, asked: “Tony Blair wants to delay Brexit by 12 months to avoid no deal – do you agree?”
A huge 92 percent (21,599 readers) disagreed with Mr Blair, with just eight percent 1,907 readers backing him.
Less than one percent (110 readers) were undecided on the former Prime Minister’s demand over Brexit.
Brexit news: Tony Blair’s last-ditch plea has been torn apart by Express.co.uk readers
Express.co.uk readers lashed out at the former Prime Minister, with one raging: “Brexit has already happened!”
A second person commented: “Blair has always had a love affair with the EU and has a track record of stitching the UK up. The man cannot be trusted one bit.
“If he wants it, you can bet your mortgage it’s not for the good of the country.”
Another Express.co.uk reader wrote: “Please Tony Blair, just go away and disappear.
“You were a blot on the UK when you were PM. You are no longer relevant.”
A fourth person, referring to the result from the EU referendum from 2016 and the number of people who voted in favour of Leave and Remain, simply said: “Good grief Blair, give it a rest; 17,410,742 is a bigger number than 16,141,241.”
The report commissioned by Mr Blair says: “It is only possible if both sides show a willingness to move away from principled stances and be realistic about what can be achieved by the end of this year. The alternative is a disastrous no deal.
“Such a standstill period wouldn’t be an automatic extension of the transition period, which the UK government has already rejected.
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“Rather, it would be an actual implementation period – legally contained within the future treaty – allowing both sides to complete the technical negotiations, ratify the deal, and implement it, without rushing through a quick and poor agreement and risking far bigger ratification and legal problems down the line.
“Failing to agree to such a time-limited standstill period when the UK and European economies are facing a deep recession following the pandemic would be a grave mistake.”
The report urges the UK to compromise on a range of issues including state aid, environment and labour standards and governance, and wants the country to agree to a “system of sanctions if it were to breach commitments to prevent it undercutting the EU – enforced by independent domestic regulators”.
The UK should agree on a “set of common objectives” with the EU to maintain an effective domestic anti-subsidy regime for state aid.
The report calls for both sides to agree on “upholding existing protections” in terms of environment and labour standards.
It also urges the UK and EU to agree on an “overarching institutional framework” for governance to “bridge the divide between the EU’s push for a single agreement and the UK’s wish for multiple separate deals”.