BRITAIN should keep its “options open” over leaving the European Union because the “will of the people” could change, Tony Blair has said.
The Government should delay triggering Article 50, the two-year process for formally quitting the bloc, “for as long as it takes to get an idea of how the other side looks”, according to the former prime minister.
A downturn in economic fortunes could lead to a change in attitudes about the country’s future outside the EU, he suggested.
Mr Blair told Murnaghan on Sky News: “One of the reasons why we should keep our options open is that yes, the referendum expressed the will of the people, but the will of the people is entitled to change.
“Right now, over the next two months, even while this psycho drama within the Conservative party is going on, we’ve got to have the national interest protected by trying to set the scene for any negotiation.”
He added: “I don’t think you can override the settled will of the people but it’s 52 to 48. Supposing some weeks or months down the line, as it becomes clear what we are moving to, as that becomes clear, if it becomes clear these terms are bad for us, if people start to worry about their jobs, we should just keep our options open.
“I’m not saying we should have another referendum, I’m not saying you can revisit this. I’m simply saying there’s no rule about this – we’re a sovereign people we can do what we want to do.”
Tory leadership frontrunner Theresa May, meanwhile, has suggested there could be further rises in the number of EU citizens moving to the UK before Brexit is implemented.
The Home Secretary told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “We know, for example, if we’re looking ahead over the coming months and years once we get the issue of the EU negotiation sorted, the right deal for Britain, we may very well see in the run-up to that, people wanting to come here to the UK before that exit happens, so there are factors you can’t always predict what the timing and numbers of those will be.”