Blair’s call for voters to consider backing Conservatives or Lib Dems to maximise MPs willing to vote against ‘hard Brexit’ seen as unhelpful by party figures.
Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Tony Blair after the former Labour prime minister advised voters to consider backing Conservative or Liberal Democrat candidates in June’s general election, if they promise to have an open mind about the terms of the final Brexit deal.
As Labour embarks on a tough election campaign, Blair urged the public to set party allegiance aside, in order to avoid the 8 June poll becoming a “steamroller election”, and maximise the number of MPs willing to vote against a “hard Brexit” when Theresa May brings the deal back to the House of Commons.
A spokesman for Corbyn said: “On 9 June, we will either have a Labour government or a Tory one. If you want Brexit to be used to turn Britain into a low-wage tax haven, vote Tory. If you want a Britain for the many not the few after Brexit, vote Labour. The choice is clear.”
In an interview on the BBC’s World This Weekend, Blair said that if Theresa May won a landslide, as the polls currently suggest, the Conservatives would read it as a mandate for “Brexit at any costs” – and voters concerned about the risks of leaving the EU should press every candidate to answer whether they had an open mind about whether the final deal was in Britain’s interests.
“The absolutely central question at this general election is less who is the prime minister on 9 June, and more what is the nature of the mandate, and in particular – because otherwise frankly this is a steamroller election – is it possible that we can return as many members of parliament as possible to parliament that are going to keep an open mind on this Brexit negotiation until we see the final terms?”