Boris Johnson crticises Blair's call for people to 'rise up' against Brexit

Maryam Cockar Sharecast | 17 Feb, 2017 14:09 - Updated: 15:57 | | |

Tony Blair

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has criticised former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s call for people to “rise up" against Brexit and suggestions of a second referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

Johnson told Sky News: “I urge the British people to rise up and turn off the TV next time Blair comes on with his condescending campaign.”

Johnson, who was one of the leading figures on the Leave campaign during the referendum campaign, said that Britain has voted “firmly in favour” of leaving the EU.

He added: “Not a thing has changed and I really think it is insulting the intelligence of the electorate to say that they got it wrong.”

Blair on Friday also called on people to “rise up” and challenge Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘hard Brexit of no longer being a member of the European single market and customs union.

The former Labour premier said that people voted "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit" and said that there was "a way out from the present rush over the cliff's edge".

“Yes, the British people voted to leave Europe, and I agree the will of the people should prevail. I accept right now there is no widespread appetite to rethink,” he said. “But the people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind. Our mission is to persuade them to do so.”

He suggested that there could be a second EU referendum, in last June’s referendum the country voted by 52% to 48% to leave.

“If a significant part of that 52% show real change of mind, however you measure it, we should have the opportunity to reconsider the decision, Whether you do it through another referendum, or another method, that’s a second order question.”

His speech, which was organised by Open Britain, a successor to the Remain campaign said that people who voted to stay in the EU should not “retreat, indifference or despair” and they should “rise up in defence of what we believe”.

“Our challenge is to expose relentlessly what [Brexit] is, to show how the decision was based on imperfect knowledge which will now become informed knowledge, to calculate in easy-to-understand ways how proceeding will cause real damage to our country; and to build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.”

Blair's speech was welcomed by Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

“Tony Blair is right. The challenge now is to persuade people to change their mind - as the Liberal Democrats are the only party offering them a chance to have their voice heard again.

He added: “So if you agree with Tony, join the Liberal Democrats.”

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