Tony Blair says EU could compromise on freedom of movement

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Jul 16, 2017 | 815 views
Tony Blair

Tony Blair

SOME EU leaders may be prepared to compromise on the free movement of people to help Britain stay in the single market, Tony Blair has said.

He told the Today programme one option was for Britain “staying within a reformed EU”.

The ex-PM said he would not disclose conversations he had in Europe — but insisted he was not speaking “on a whim”.

The government insists Brexit will give the UK greater control of its borders.

And Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said Mr Blair “hadn’t really listened to the nature of the debate going on”.

Mr Blair spoke to the BBC after he argued in an article for his own institute that there was room for compromise on free movement of people.

He told Today the situation in Europe was different to when Britain voted to leave the EU — a move Mr Blair described as “the most serious it’s taken since the Second World War”.

He said France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron — whose political party was formed last year — was proposing “far-reaching reforms” for the EU.

“Europe itself is now looking at its own reform programme,” Mr Blair said.

“They will have an inner circle in the EU that will be part of the Eurozone and an outer circle.”

When pressed by Today presenter Nick Robinson on what evidence there was to suggest European nations would compromise on such issues as freedom of movement, Mr Blair said: “I’m not going to disclose conversations I’ve had within Europe, but I’m not saying this literally on the basis of a whim.

“They will make reforms that I think will make it much more comfortable for Britain to fit itself in that outer circle.’’ — BBC News SHENYANG, China

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