Theresa May, the British Prime Minister has launched a stinging attack on Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister. PM May branded his calls for a second Brexit referendum is an “insult to the office he once held and the people he once served.”
The Prime Minister claims that her predecessor was “undermining” the ongoing discussions with Brussels in calling for a second referendum or People’s Vote.
May pulled the vote on her Brexit deal amid the signs that it would widely be defeated. She said that Blair wished to “subvert” the Brexit process in order to pursue his own “political interests.”
She added: “I am fighting for a good deal for Britain. I will continue to fight for a good deal for Britain.”
She added: “I have never lost sight of my duty and that is to deliver on the referendum result and to do so in a way that protects British jobs, keeps us safe and protects our precious union. However, there are too many people who want to subvert the process for their own political interests – rather than acting in the national interest.”
She continued: “For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served.”
PM May concluded: “We cannot, as he would abdicate responsibility for this decision.”
The unusual intervention of PM May comes after Blair said that Europe should prepare for the “near probability” of the United Kingdom extending Article 50, the mechanism by which it leaves the European Union, to allow more time for a deal to be thrashed out or for a second referendum to be accommodated.
Blair has long urged for a second referendum. He said that Brexit was manmade, and so he could be “unmade by man.”
As well as the battling voices such as Blair’s, PM May is also facing the calls from her own Cabinet in order to consider a public vote on Brexit.
According to the Sunday Times, the Labour MPs who supported the vote have met the de facto deputy David Lidington of PM May to discuss it as a possibility.
The newspaper reported that Gavin Barwell, May’s chief of staff, informed a cabinet minister last week that holding a second referendum was “the only way forward.”
Meanwhile, during an interview with BBC, Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, he said that the Parliament may have to decide on what to do in the event that the deal of PM May is not yet approved by MPs in the House of Commons.
Fox said that the issue of the Irish backstop continued to be the main reason why the deal was not able to conjure up support and that the deal was not likely to pass through parliament unless there is a resolution for the backstop issue.
He said that one of the options options could be a “free vote” or indicative vote for the MPs to test the mood of the House.
PM May has spent the past week in Brussels. She was attempting to persuade the leaders of the European Union to provide legal assurances over the Irish backstop. She requested that it was still possible to receive assurances from Europe, even after the film footage emerged of her tense exchange with Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU Commission President, after he claimed that the Brexit proposals of the United Kingdom were “nebulous.”