World Europe 17 Dec 2018 Theresa May slams To ...

Theresa May slams Tony Blair for Brexit meddling by pitching for second referendum

PTI
Published Dec 17, 2018, 4:04 pm IST
Updated Dec 17, 2018, 4:04 pm IST
May accused Tony Blair’s intervention as an "insult" to the office of Prime Minister which he once held.
May had to promise the Tories that she would not be leading the party into the next General Election, scheduled for 2022.(Photo: File)
 May had to promise the Tories that she would not be leading the party into the next General Election, scheduled for 2022.(Photo: File)

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday blasted former UK premier Tony Blair for his Brexit meddling by pitching for a second referendum over the decision to leave the European Union earlier this week.

She termed his intervention as an "insult" to the office he once held.

 

May's comments have come after Blair, who served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1997 to 2007, said in his speech on Friday that British MPs might back a new vote if "none of the other options work". May accused the former Labour Party leader of "undermining" negotiations with the EU, describing his intervention as an "insult" to the office of Prime Minister which he once held.

"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," said May.

"We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision. Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for," she said.

According to a report published in The Sunday Times, the Opposition Labour MPs who back the idea of a second referendum, dubbed the "People's Vote", met one of May's senior-most Cabinet ministers David Lidington.

The government remains opposed to any further referendum, saying the public made a clear choice when they voted in June 2016 to leave by a margin of 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent.

Prime Minister May has branded the demand as wanting to subvert the Brexit process for political interests, rather than acting in the national interest.

The row played out as attempts to break the deadlock over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement she has struck with the EU carries on.

MPs were due to vote on the controversial deal in the House of Commons on Tuesday, but it was postponed when the British PM admitted it would have been "rejected by a significant margin".

After postponing the vote in Parliament, she dashed to Brussels to make a renewed plea to EU leaders, in a bid to make her deal more acceptable to British MPs but the European leaders have ruled out any renegotiations.

The central concern remains over the "backstop", which is aimed at preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland but critics fear it would keep the UK tied to EU rules and limit its ability to strike trade deals even after Brexit.

It led to a tumultuous week for May, who faced a vote of no-confidence from her own Conservative Party MPs which she survived earlier this week. She had to promise the Tories that she would not be leading the party into the next General Election, scheduled for 2022.

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