Former prime minister Tony Blair, who was at the forefront of driving the campaign for a second referendum on EU membership, has said he would have backed Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels.
Asked if he would have voted for the deal in the Commons, Blair told Times Radio on Sunday: “I would have backed the leader on this. I mean, look, it’s a tactical question for the Labour party because the problem is … it’s open to your opponents to say that if you don’t back the deal, then you’re voting for no deal.”
Blair added: “The truth of the matter is these so-called freedoms from European regulation that Brexit’s supposed to give us, they don’t really give us anything much at all.
“Because the truth is that decisions for Britain are and always have been resting with the British people and with the British government that they elect.
Labour leader Kier Starmer, alongside his MPs voted in favour of Boris Johnson's trade agreement last week before the end of the transition period.
Sir Kier, who backed remain in 2016 and served as the shadow Brexit secretary, faced pressure from his own party ranks over his decision to support the deal despite.
Mr Blair revealed that he would have supported sir Kier.
“There was a case for abstaining and there was a case for voting for it because the alternative’s no-deal.
“What I’m really saying is as a decision that the Labour leader’s got to take, I don’t think it particularly matters to the Labour Party either way.
“I think what does matter is that we’re still in a position where we’re pointing out what the problems with this deal are.”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson confirmed he would continue as prime minister after Brexit and played down issues with red tape over trade after the UK formally severed ties with the EU following the end of the transition period.
On the Andrew Marr show, the prime minister said : “We now have freedoms that we haven’t had for 50 years and there are lots of reasons to be very positive about this otherwise grim new year.”