The former Labour Prime Minister argued today that Europe must share responsibility for the vote to leave and find a way to get out of the “Brexit cul-de-sac”.
Tony Blair said the Brexit vote was a signal to Brussels it must change its approach or risk damaging race to the bottom between the bloc and an independent UK.
He told the European Policy Centre think tank in a speech today that Brexit “weakens Europe’s standing and power the world over”.
The ex-PM added: “It reduces the effectiveness of the single market by removing from it Europe’s second largest economy. And Britain out of Europe will ultimately be a focal point of disunity, when the supreme requirement for unity is so manifest.
“No matter how we try, it will create a competitive pole to that of Europe, economically and politically to the detriment of both of us.
“Reform in Europe is key to getting Britain to change its mind.”
In the second intervention in the debate by a former prime minister following Sir John Major’s scathing address yesterday, Mr Blair set out steps which could lead to a “reconsideration” of the Leave vote.
The architect of New Labour claimed Brussels must show there are better ways to respond to the “genuine underlying grievances beneath the Brexit vote, especially around immigration”.
He called for “a comprehensive plan on immigration control, which preserves Europe’s values but is consistent with the concerns of its people and includes sensitivity to the challenges of the freedom of movement principle”.
There should also be a “roadmap for future European reform” which would be “timely for the evolving British debate on Brexit”.
Mr Blair said that Brexit is “momentous and life-changing for Britain” and the people “should be given a final say on whatever deal is negotiated”.
He told the audience: “If they are allowed that say, then Brexit can be averted.
“I and many others will work passionately for that outcome.”
Mr Blair said that when Britain is faced with a “real choice” on Brexit, if the EU offered reforms it could transform the debate.
“If at the point Britain is seized of a real choice, not about whether we like Europe or not – the question of June 2016 – but whether on mature reflection the final deal the British Government offers is better than what we have.
“If – at this moment – Europe was to offer a parallel path to Brexit of Britain staying in a reforming Europe, that would throw open the debate to transformation.”
Ahead of his speech, Mr Blair told Radio 4’s Today programme that Theresa May’s plan to leave the customs union and single market is “literally not going to happen”.
Yesterday, Sir John Major made a dramatic intervention in the Brexit debate, causing uproar among Leavers by warning the Government’s negotiating position was “not credible”.
Accusing Mrs May of tilting her policy too far towards an “ultra-Brexit” minority whose promises to voters had all been proved wrong, Sir John urged her to be ready to compromise by dropping her “red lines” of taking the UK out of the single market and customs union.
And he called on her to offer MPs a free vote on the final Brexit deal, with the option of putting it to the public in a second referendum.