Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will warn today against a U.K. exit from the European Union, saying such a move would lead to a loss of British influence internationally.
In a speech in central London at 9.30 a.m., Blair will say that Britain might leave the EU, only to spend 20 years trying to get back in, according to details of the speech released by his office. He’ll say that the case for British involvement is even stronger than it was when the EU’s predecessor was first founded after World War II.
“Then the rationale was peace,” Blair will say. “Today it is power. Then it was about a continent ravaged by war in which Germany had been the aggressor and Britain the victor. Today it is about a world in which global geopolitics is undergoing its biggest change for centuries.”
Blair argued for U.K. engagement in the EU throughout his decade in office from 1997 as the head of a Labour Party government. The current Conservative premier, David Cameron, also supports membership, while saying it’s time to renegotiate terms and that the results of that renegotiation should be put to a referendum.
One Conservative lawmaker, Michael Fabricant, proposed an electoral pact on Nov. 26 with the U.K. Independence Party, based on a pledge on a full “in-out” referendum on British membership of the EU. Cameron’s office rejected the suggestion. UKIP, which seeks an exit from the EU, has no lawmakers in the House of Commons, though it’s currently attracting the support of about 8 percent of respondents in opinion polls.
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