Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday the British people all agree on one thing about Brexit: They are sick of hearing about it.
“The only thing that unites the British people at the moment is a desire to have the thing over with,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” “So if there was another referendum and people voted to leave, well, you’d just have to accept that result and make the best of it. I’m not sure they would. “
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Brexit has tied the British government up in knots, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced parliamentary opposition, even within his own party, over his efforts to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 whether or not a deal has been made with the EU — a so-called “no-deal Brexit.“ Such a departure is likely to lead to disruption of trade with Europe and through Europe, as well as creating issues on Britain’s border with Ireland. Shortages of basic goods within Britain have been predicted.
Johnson is now pushing to hold a new general election.
Calling the whole situation “extremely difficult to explain,” Blair speculated that Johnson has favored holding a new election rather than a new referendum on Brexit because he has a better chance of coming out ahead.
“I think the reason is essentially political,“ Blair said, adding later: “He thinks if you have a general election, then he can mask the unpopularity of a no-deal Brexit by pointing to the greater unpopularity of the Labour leadership. That’s one bet that I think he’s making.“
For his part, Blair said he would prefer the issues remain separate.
“If you’ve got a problem and the problem is Brexit and you want to ask the public what does it think, go back to them on the specific. Don’t mix it up with a general election,” he told Zakaria.