In Depth

What is Tony Blair doing now?

Former Labour prime minister has been campaigning for a second referendum

Tony Blair has been campaigning for a second referendum on Brexit after vowing to return to politics to get his “hands dirty”.

Although the former Labour prime minister has remained active on the public speaking circuit since leaving office in 2007, he has returned to the mainstream as an outspoken critic of Brexit since the referendum in 2016, and has openly called for the government to reverse the decision.

Earlier this year, he said Theresa May’s “half in/half out” solution “won’t work, won’t end the argument and will simply mean a confused outcome in which we continue to abide by Europe’s rules whilst losing our say over them”.

He appeared yesterday on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to call for a second referendum offering voters a hard Brexit or the chance to remain in the European Union.

Last month, he authored a scathing article in The Independent that described Theresa May’s Brexit deal - to be put to a parliamentary vote next week - as a “pointless Brexit in name only” and “not the best of a bad job, but the worst of both worlds”.

“It isn’t a compromise but a capitulation. The withdrawal agreement will keep us tied to EU trade policy until there is an end established by ‘joint consent’ – that means the EU has a veto. It is coated in heavy fudge but that is the inedible biscuit beneath the coating,” he said.

“As for future arrangements, that is essentially the Chequers proposal which leaves us accepting existing EU rules and agreeing to abide by future ones.”

He has also been a fervent critic of the current leadership of the Labour party, and has claimed that “moderates” may never be able to take back control of the party following the “profound change” it has seen under Jeremy Corbyn’s guidance.

Yesterday on Good Morning Britain he even hinted that a new political party could be possible, saying: “If you leave a large number of people politically homeless, at some point they will build a home.”

Aside from speaking out on Brexit and Corbyn, Blair has also created the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a non-profit organisation that he describes as a “new policy platform to refill the wide open space in the middle of politics” aimed at combating a “frightening authoritarian populism”.

The organisation, set up last year, says its aim is “to help make globalisation work for the many, not the few”, and that it does this by “helping countries, their people and their governments address some of the most difficult challenges in the world today”.

Currently, the institute has projects in 14 African countries, and offers their governments advice regarding the establishment of stable democracies, and also has projects in the Middle East aimed at combating terrorism in the region.

The organisation's site also features a multitude of articles penned by Blair that are extremely critical of the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit.

Meanwhile, it emerged last month that Blair has claimed more than £1,077,888 from the government since leaving office in 2007.

A freedom of information tribunal in November ordered the release of documents relating to the Cabinet Office’s public duty cost allowance (PDCA) scheme, in which former prime ministers are given a salary to “cover the cost of the ongoing public engagements”, The Independent says.

According to the documents, all former prime ministers are entitled to an allowance of up to £115,000 a year to cover the costs of their ongoing public engagements.


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