- Tony Blair will today deliver a call to arms for pro-Europeans in bid to block Brexit
- He will insist people have the right to change their mind on leaving despite vote
- Blair to hint decision to leave could be overturned following second referendum
- Will suggest Parliament and public should have the last word on any final deal
By Daniel Martin, Chief Political Correspondent For The Daily Mail
Published: 19:06 EST, 16 February 2017 | Updated: 03:53 EST, 17 February 2017
Tony Blair and his wife Cherie
Tony Blair will today deliver a call to arms for pro-Europeans, urging them to band together and block Brexit.
In a major return to frontline politics, the former prime minister will urge those who support Britain's continued EU membership to unite and fight against departure.
He will insist that despite last year's referendum result, the people have the right to change their mind on leaving once they realise the consequences.
Speaking to the pro-EU Open Britain think tank, Mr Blair will hint the decision to leave could be overturned following a second referendum or a snap election.
And he will suggest Parliament and the public should have the last word on the final deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels.
Last night Leave campaigners accused the ex-Labour leader of trying to 'resurrect his political corpse' by deceiving the British people. In his first major speech since re-entering the political fray, Mr Blair is expected to accuse ministers of leading us into Brexit at any cost. He will also say Mrs May risks damaging our economy by ruling out continued membership of the single market.
It follows Mr Blair's intervention last October, when he said Brexit could be halted if the people decided the costs of leaving the EU greatly outweighed any benefits. At the time, he said Britain should keep its 'options open' and not rule out a second referendum. Describing the June 23 vote as a 'catastrophe', he said the views of the 16million who backed Remain should not be ignored.
'If it becomes clear this is either a deal that doesn't make it worth our while leaving, or alternatively a deal that's going to be so serious in its implications, people may decide they don't want to go,' he said.
'There's got to be some way, either through Parliament, or an election, or possibly through another referendum, in which people express their view.'
Last night Richard Tice, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, said: 'There is some irony that Tony Blair will try to resurrect his political corpse tomorrow by trying to deceive the British people once again.
'The EU referendum was democratic, fair and free and the British people voted for Brexit. Tony Blair is now trying to do everything he can to halt Brexit.'
Meanwhile, Mrs May has warned that hundreds of thousands of jobs in the EU depend on ties to Britain.
As she prepares to meet her French counterpart in Downing Street today, the PM also pledged that the UK will not seek to 'cherry-pick' which parts of membership it wants to keep after Brexit.
In an article for French newspaper Le Figaro, she said: 'As we leave the EU, we will seek the greatest possible access to the European single market through a new, comprehensive, bold, ambitious free trade agreement.
'This cannot, however, mean retaining membership of the single market. (French) President (Francois) Hollande and other European leaders have been very clear that this would mean accepting the "four freedoms" of goods, capital, services and people and I respect their position.
'Britain understands that EU leaders want to continue with the process of integration.
'We do not, to borrow the phrase, seek to cherry-pick which bits of membership we desire.'
Mrs May also highlighted French interest in a good Brexit deal, pointing out that the UK is France's fifth-largest export market with bilateral trade worth more than 50 billion euros last year.
'UK companies are responsible for an estimated 230,000 jobs in France, and French companies for about 370,000 jobs in the UK,' she added.
Mrs May also stressed the UK will remain an 'open and tolerant' country and that French people will 'always be welcome in Britain'.
She reiterated her aim of guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals already in the UK, including more than 300,000 French people, and said she hopes France will do the same for Britons living there.
'I will make securing this reciprocal agreement a priority as soon as the negotiations begin, because this is in everyone's interests,' she said.
Mr Blair will suggest Parliament and the public should have the last word on the final deal Theresa May (pictured) strikes with Brussels
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