Former British prime minister Tony Blair is urging the British people to “rise up” against Brexit and prevent the government of Theresa May from taking the country out of the European Union “at any cost.”
Blair is expected to voice his opposition to “hard Brexit” in a major speech on Friday and launch a “mission” to find “a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge,” according to media reports.
The speech has been organized by the Open Britain campaign group.
The former Labour leader will say that Britons voted in the June 23 referendum without proper “knowledge of the true terms of Brexit."
Demanding that people have a “right to change their mind,” Blair will call on the 48 percent who voted against Brexit to take a stand.
“This is not the time for retreat, indifference or despair, but the time to rise up in defense of what we believe,” he will argue. "Our mission is to persuade them to do so."
Prime Minister May has indicated that she wants to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March, starting formal talks with the EU over the terms of the country’s exit.
In a few days, the House of Lords will start debating legislation which, if approved, gives the prime minister the right to officially begin the two-year process.
May has argued that Britain is ready to sacrifice membership of the EU’s single market, customs union and the European Court of Justice in order to regain control of its borders.
Retaining access to the single market has been one of the major worries for UK businesses ever since the country voted to leave the EU in June.
“Those driving this always wanted a hard Brexit. Indeed, even the term ‘hard Brexit’ requires amendment,” Blair will say in his speech.