Former Labour PM Tony Blair has advised Theresa May to cancel next week's Brexit vote rather than lose badly

Former Labour PM Tony Blair has advised Theresa May to cancel next week's Brexit vote rather than lose badly

December 7, 2018

In a scathing verdict on her leadership he said the PM bad become “lost in nervous indecision”.

The former PM said the “entire conduct of Brexit negotiations has been a strategic error”.

And in an extraordinary attack he said her credibility had been “eroded” and had led Tory Brexiteers to conclude that “mutiny is wiser than following the officer class into the abyss”.

But Mr Blair insisted he was “100 per cent on a personal level sympathetic” with the PM.

He welcomed the decisive vote earlier this week that will put Parliament in the driving seat for the future course of Brexit if Mrs May’s deal fails.

Mr Blair declared: “There’s as much leadership on the backbenches as there is on the frontbench.”

The Sun first revealed the Government had secretly discussed pulling next Tuesday’s crucial vote on the Brexit deal because the parliamentary arithmetic was stacked against the PM.

Asked what advice he would give the current Prime Minister on the vote, Mr Blair told Westminster journalists: “I don’t personally think it is very sensible just to plunge along and be defeated very heavily. What does that tell you?”

He added: “I don’t see what the point is in going down to a huge defeat.”

Instead he said the PM must “understand” that she can’t get a majority of MPs to back a single Brexit plan and the only other option is to hold a second referendum to settle the issue “for a generation”.

Mr Blair blasted Mrs May for trying to sell a deal that was “half-in, half-out”, declaring: “Do Brexit or don’t”. And mocking his famous moto, he said: “this time there is no acceptable third way.”

A second referendum should be a choice between a Canada-style “proper Brexit” and remaining in the EU “with a renewed offer from Europe” on immigration.

Mr Blair criticised the growing number of Tory and Labour MPs backing a Norway-style EU halfway house where Britain would join the European Free Trade Association.

He said the model would come under “an even greater degree of attack from people who voted Brexit because Britain would have to keep freedom of movement, staying in the single market and tied to EU customs rules.

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