Tony Blair calls for an uprising against Brexit

Tony Blair calls for an uprising against BrexitFormer UK Prime Minister Tony Blair made the unexpectable intervention into Brexit on Friday as he tried to persuade Britons to “rise up in defense of what we believe” and change their minds on leaving the EU, BBC said on Friday.

Speaking in the City of London, the former prime minister claimed that people voted in the referendum "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit".

Blair, who was UK prime minister between 1997 and 2007, used the speech to the pro-European campaign group Open Britain to stress that those driving a withdrawal from the European Union "always wanted a hard Brexit".

"Indeed even the term 'Hard Brexit' requires amendment. The policy is now 'Brexit at any cost'," he said.

"Our challenge is to expose, relentlessly, what that cost is... To show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge, which will now become informed knowledge," Blair added.

"To calculate in 'easy to understand' ways how proceeding will cause real damage to the country and its citizens and to build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff's edge," he said.

Blair, who campaigned to Remain in the EU, said that while he accepted the verdict of June's referendum, he would recommend looking again at Brexit when "we have a clear sense of where we're going".

Blair stressed that the Conservative government only "has bandwidth for only one thing - Brexit", at the cost of the NHS, education, investment in communities, the rise in serious crime, the increased burden of social care and control of immigration.

"This is a government for Brexit, of Brexit and dominated by Brexit - it's a mono-purpose political entity and nothing else therefore truly matters," he said.

Blair has faced criticism in the past for his government's decision to allow people from Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to work in Britain without restrictions, while most EU states imposed transitional controls to slow the rate of migration.

A government spokesman said the British people had expressed their view very clearly on 23 June, adding: "There will be no second referendum."

Iain Duncan Smith, who was a prominent Leave campaigner, said Blair's comments were arrogant, utterly undemocratic and showed that the political elite was completely out of touch with the British people.

Earlier this month, MPs overwhelmingly agreed to let the government begin the UK's departure from the EU by voting for the Brexit bill. The draft legislation was approved by 494 votes to 122, and will move to the House of Lords on Monday.
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