Tony Blair has called for “serious statesmanship” in the talks with the European Union that will shape the future of the UK after Brexit.
The former prime minister warned “our nation is in peril” after the vote to leave the EU and the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the other countries would be of “extraordinary complexity”.
He urged the contenders in the Conservative leadership race to act with “genuine patriotic regard” to the country’s future as he accepted his own party was “effectively disabled”.
In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Blair said: “There is going to be a negotiation of extraordinary complexity where there are a thousand devils in every detail. Those we used to call ‘our European partners’ are, unsurprisingly, divided and uncertain themselves.”
He said some countries wanted a quick divorce, while others favoured a delay in commencing the article 50 process, which starts a two-year countdown to Brexit.
“This needs serious statesmanship,” he said. “So before any formal negotiation begins, we need to get a high level sense of where the boundaries are going to be, the things that might be compromised, the things that are red lines.