British Prime Minister Theresa May has attacked one of her predecessors, accusing Tony Blair of “undermining” the Brexit talks by calling for another referendum.
She called his comments an “insult to the office he once held” and said MPs could not “abdicate responsibility” to deliver Brexit by holding a new poll.
In London last week, Mr Blair said MPs might back a new vote if “none of the other options work”.
In response to Mrs May, he insisted that a new referendum was democratic. “Far from being anti-democratic it would be the opposite, as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying,” he said.
On Thursday about 10 Labour MPs met David Lidington who is Mrs May’s de facto second-in-command to argue for another public vote. Sources close to Mr Lidington said it was “pretty standard stuff” and he was not “planning for or advocating a second referendum”.
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Many senior Labour figures are deeply uneasy about endorsing another referendum. The government is also opposed to any further referendum, saying the public made a clear choice when they voted in 2016 to leave by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%. Mrs May’s criticism of the former Labour prime minister was striking for its anger, BBC said.
Mrs May said: “For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served. She added: “We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision.
“Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for.”
Meanwhile, the PM’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, has responded to reports in the Mail on Sunday that he told colleagues another referendum was “the only way out of this”, saying on Twitter: “Happy to confirm I am not planning a 2nd referendum with political opponents (or anyone else, to anticipate the next question).”