Tony Blair angers Remainers with belief Boris Johnson will push for ‘safe’ no deal Brexit

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In comments bound to enrage Remainers, the former prime minister claimed Mr Johnson and his Cabinet had decided fighting for a free trade deal had become too difficult and would instead leave the EU without a free trade agreement when the transition period expires at the end of the year.

I think that Brexit is a terrible mistake and there’s no point in arguing it again and again

Tony Blair

In an interview with Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, Mr Blair again described Brexit as a “terrible mistake” but admitted there was little point going over the same arguments “again and again”.

And when asked of he could see a path for a successful Brexit he replied: “Frankly, no.”

Mr Blair said: “I think that Brexit is a terrible mistake and there’s no point in arguing it again and again.”

He continued: “At present I am pessimistic on whether we have a deal.

“I fear that the Government here has decided that getting a deal is too difficult and the no deal Brexit is the safest option for them politically.”

The Government has again underlined its commitment to leave the EU at the end of the year with Michael Gove telling MPs Britain will “under no circumstances” accept an extension to the Brexit transition.

Speaking in the Commons earlier today, the Cabinet Office minister said: “The transition period ends on December 31 2020. Under no circumstances will the Government accept an extension.

“Indeed, we have a domestic law obligation not to accept.

“Extending simply delays the moment at which we achieve what we want and what the country voted for – our economic and political independence.”

Mr Blair told Ekathimerini he did not think the Government could make Brexit a success but must try to maximise the country’s success outside the EU.

He said: “First of all, we have to be absolutely clear of what type of country we would like to be.

“It’s got to be one country based on creativity, innovation, science, technology.

“We should use all the attributes Britain has – position and language and also our position in technology and science – in order to make sure we are a successful modern economy for the future.”

The former Labour leader also called for a “practical relationship” with Europe after Brexit.

He said: “We might be out of the single market but we should be cooperating.

“We have huge interest in doing so in areas like defence and security.

“It is absolutely clear that Europe’s big challenge is how does it deal with the instability that is coming out from the northern part of Africa.

“How can it deal with instability unless there is a common defence and security mechanism?

“Britain has an interest in aligning with Europe on that policies.”

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He said the UK should also work closely with Europe on science and technology, energy and climate change.

He said: “We must forge an identity in a way that we keep most of our independence but we cooperate strongly with Europe where it is in our interest to do so.

“That’ s the way to make the best out of Brexit.”

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