UK Politics

General election 2017: Tony Blair says Brexit stance more important than party

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Media captionTony Blair: "I almost feel motivated to go back into the political scene"

Tony Blair has urged voters not to elect MPs who "back Brexit at any cost", whichever party they are from.

The ex-PM told the BBC that Brexit was a bigger issue than party allegiance for the general election on 8 June.

He said the Tories were likely to win but a big Labour vote could constrain the PM, whose "unreasonable" policy was being driven by her party's right wing.

And he said he felt so passionately about Brexit he was "almost motivated" to re-enter British politics himself.

Mr Blair stepped down from frontline politics in 2007 but has become more politically active in recent months, setting up a think tank in London to make the case for the centre ground and for continued EU membership.

He told the BBC that the opinion polls suggested Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives were on course for a landslide victory and he "wasn't totally sure" what Labour's position was on Brexit.

'Know where they stand'

Speaking to Radio 4's World This Weekend, he said that voters need to know where candidates stood on leaving the EU.

He described Theresa May as "very sensible" and "a perfectly decent person" but said her policy on leaving the EU was "not reasonable" and that it was driven by the right wing of her party.

He said: "The point is whether I'm Labour or I'm not Labour - even if there's Conservatives or Liberal Democrats - I will work with anyone to get this argument across in the country."

He pledged to put pressure on candidates in each constituency to force them to declare where they stood on the mandate Mrs May should have when negotiating the terms of Britain's exit from the EU.

And he said he was supporting a campaign, also backed by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, to fund candidates who want to see another, "final" vote on the exit deal.

Mr Blair said he feared that winning a large majority would effectively hand Theresa May "a blank cheque for Brexit at any costs", which was not in the interests of the country.

Although he has previously ruled out standing for Parliament again after an absence of 10 years, Mr Blair said:

"I look at the British political scene at the moment and I actually almost feel motivated to go right back into it," he added. "We're just allowing ourselves to be hijacked by what is actually quite a small group of people with a strong ideology."

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