In yet another dramatic twist in the Brexit saga, Jeremy Corbyn announced this evening that Labour would now back a public vote on the outcome of the Brexit deal – albeit with some major caveats. His decision to support a second referendum has been met with delight by Remain supporting Labour MPs, who have been hoping for months that their famously Eurosceptic leader would eventually come round to supporting a People’s Vote.
But Mr Steerpike can reveal that one ardent Remainer and former Labour leader is still somewhat sceptical about whether today’s announcement will bring about the end of Brexit. In a speech this afternoon in Washington, DC for the Niskanen Center think tank, former Prime Minister Tony Blair hit out at the current state of the Labour party, comparing it to the rise of populism worldwide, and suggesting that it had ‘become a bizarre competition to see whose country’s politics are in the worse state.’ Adding ‘believe me, right now, we’re way ahead!’
Afterwards, Mr Steerpike managed to catch a word with Blair to ask what he thought about Labour’s announcement. He said that he thought:
‘It is significant but I don’t know if we’ll get there…’
Asked if that meant he did not trust the Labour leadership, Blair replied:
‘No it’s not that — it’s just the parliamentary arithmetic is pretty complicated.’
Mr S has to say that Blair didn’t look particularly happy when asked about the latest turn of events. Could it perhaps be that Corbyn’s shift to Remain has scuppered his plans to depose the current leader?