Britain should keep Brexit options open, says former PM Tony Blair

London: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said "we should keep our options open" on Brexit -- Britain's exit from the European Union (EU).

He told the BBC on Sunday that the 48 percent who had voted to Remain felt "disenfranchised" and it was not clear "what we are moving to".

He said that "if the will of the people shifts" as details of what Brexit means for the country begin to emerge, then "Why shouldn't we recognise that?"

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Reuters

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Reuters

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn have both ruled out a second EU referendum.

When asked on Radio 4's The World This Weekend programme whether "keeping our options open" meant a second EU referendum, Blair replied: "It means whatever we decide... it should mean as we see how this debate develops."

But he said the case for leaving the EU had "crumbled".

He said a vote of "seismic importance" had happened to the country but David Cameron's resignation and the leadership contest meant the focus would be on appealing to Conservative Party members rather than the country's national interest.

He said the government should engage now with other EU countries to see what room there was for manoeuvre, stressing the continuing importance of Prime Minister David Cameron's role in this, rather than waiting for the outcome of the Tory leadership race.

He said: "If... once we look through the rest of our European partners, we start to see where there is a possible route for compromise, my point is this: We are sovereign. Let's just keep our options open."

He added that, once the practical effects of Britain's decision to leave the EU become clearer, then there should be a role for Parliament, adding: "The country should carry on being engaged in this debate, it should carry on expressing its view."

"Yes right now, it's clear, we're leaving. But we don't know what we are going to."

He said Britain had "diminished" its place in the world and would have to "fight to get it back".

"My point is why do all this unless there's some huge gain we can see on the other side, which right now we can't," he said.

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Updated Date: Jul 03, 2016 19:32:02 IST

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