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John McDonnell hits back at Blair's criticism of Labour's Brexit policy

John McDonnell hits back at Blair's criticism of Labour's Brexit policy

He said leaving the single market was a "damaging position" shared by Labour and he urged the party's leadership to champion a "radically distinct" position on Europe.

When former prime minister David Cameron made cutting EU immigration the focus of a deal he demanded before holding the referendum previous year, other European governments argued London could do more within existing EU rules to limit arrivals.

"The Labour party should be cautious in thinking "one more heave" will deliver victory next time".

European Union (EU) leaders would be prepared to be flexible on freedom of movement of people to accommodate the United Kingdom after Brexit, according to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"By calling for the will of the people and Parliament to be overturned, Tony Blair is demonstrating once again that he is out of touch". "The Corbyn campaign was a positive factor in the election result; but the determining factor was the Tory campaign".

"In addition to that, I believe that they've set a tone for these negotiations, which is not constructive".




The former prime minister claimed that if the United Kingdom didn't abandon the single market, European leaders would be willing to relax their stance on freedom of movement - one of the central principles of single market membership - and let Britain have control. "He tapped into something real and powerful, as Bernie Sanders has in the United States of America and left groups have done all over Europe".

In the run-up to last month's election Blair's institute polled voters in the United Kingdom, France and Germany about attitudes towards Europe, Brexit and politics more generally.

In an article published on Saturday by Blair's Institute for Global Change, he wrote that European Union leaders might be willing to "reform and meet us half way" to keep the United Kingdom in the bloc.

On Brexit, Mr Blair said: "If Labour continues to be for leaving the single market, and the signs are that it will, then we are essentially for the same policy as the Government".

He said the British people should be made aware of the possibility of Europe meeting the United Kingdom "half way" on a range of issues, predicting that Europe "will comprise an inner and outer circle" in the coming years. But he called Brexit the biggest political decision since World War II. A majority oppose hard Brexit. On freedom of movement, the principle is indivisible.


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