Tony Blair has said that new freedoms achieved from Brexit “don’t give us anything much at all” but insisted he would have voted for Boris Johnson’s deal.
He said: “There is nothing that Brexit’s going to do for Britain on its own. It’s going to leave us economically weaker and with less political influence.
“And so the only way I make sense of Brexit is to treat it as shock therapy, that we then realise we’ve got to take certain big decisions as a country, we’ve got to set out a new agenda for the future, but that’s going to be difficult to do.”
Blair added: “The truth of the matter is these so-called freedoms from European regulation that Brexit’s supposed to give us, they don’t really give us anything much at all.
“Because the truth is that decisions for Britain are and always have been resting with the British people and with the British government that they elect.
“But what it does mean, if we just carry on having the same old political debate post-Brexit as we had pre-Brexit, we’re in a lot of trouble as a country.”
Blair said that he would have backed Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal in parliament.
Asked if he would have voted for the deal in the Commons, he said: “I would have backed (Sir Keir Starmer) on this.
“I mean look, it’s a tactical question for the Labour Party because the problem is that it’s open to your opponents to say that if you don’t back the deal, then you’re voting for no-deal.”
He continued: “There was a case for abstaining and there was a case for voting for it because the alternative’s no-deal.
“What I’m really saying is as a decision that the Labour leader’s got to take, I don’t think it particularly matters to the Labour Party either way.
“I think what does matter is that we’re still in a position where we’re pointing out what the problems with this deal are.”