Sep 15, 2019

Tony Blair says Brexit exhaustion is unifying Britain

Photo: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Sport Industry Group

Amid ongoing political chaos and uncertainty, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Brexit exhaustion is a unifying issue.

  • "The only thing that unites the British people at the moment is a desire to have the thing over with," Blair told CNN Sunday. "So if there was another referendum and people voted to leave, well, you’d just have to accept that result and make the best of it. I’m not sure they would."

The big picture: British Prime Mister Boris Johnson has been seeking a general election in the hopes that incoming lawmakers could overturn a block on a no-deal Brexit, set to take place on Oct. 31. Johnson is firmly in favor of departure, deal or no deal.

  • Reports forecast that a no-deal Brexit could induce food and medicine shortages, and would leave Northern Ireland in a state of uncertainty.
  • "He thinks if you have a general election, then he can mask the unpopularity of a no-deal Brexit by pointing to the greater unpopularity of the Labour leadership. That’s one bet that I think he’s making," Blair said.

Go deeper: What's next for Brexit bedlam

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Everything you need to know about Brexit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom shocked the world and voted to “Brexit,” or leave the European Union. After more than three years of uncertainty and fractured politics, the U.K. officially exited the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 29, 2019 - World

U.K.'s Labour Party votes not to campaign against Brexit in next election

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The U.K.'s Labour Party — the main opposition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament — voted at their annual party conference on Monday against a measure to campaign in favor of remaining in the European Union during the next general election.

Why it matters: Intra-party divisions were on full display during the annual conference, a chance for Labour to lay out its strategy for defeating the largely pro-Brexit Conservative Party at an election that will likely take place in the next few months. Rather than campaign "energetically" on canceling Brexit, Labour's platform will advocate for negotiating a new divorce deal with the EU and presenting it to the British people in a new referendum — with "remain" as the alternative option.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019

EU officials say there have been "promising signals" in Brexit talks

EU Council President Donald Tusk. Photo: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday that there have been "promising signals" in Brexit talks between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, adding that both have seen "for the first time ... a pathway to a deal."

The big picture: The major sticking point in the negotiations continues to be the Irish backstop, deciding precisely which regulatory and customs system Northern Ireland, which is a part of the U.K., will be aligned with after Brexit — and for how long — and how that will affect its border with Ireland.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019