Tony Blair Gets Diplomatic on EU, U.S. Election

In the face of the UK’s decision to keep its membership in the European Union, former Prime Minister Tony Blair admits the decision will be close.

“We should vote to stay. I think we will vote to stay but it’s going to be close. As you know from here, politics at the moment is pretty unpredictable. It’s the same on both sides of the Atlantic, and there’s some referendums in or out, very simple choice. There are real risks obviously, but I think in the end the British people are sensible enough that they would take the risk of leaving and breakup,” he said during an interview with the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

Blair says one implication of breaking away would be its impact on trade.

“It’ll look painful and it’ll be painful because we’ll need then to negotiate a whole lot of trade agreements with the EU. Over half of our trade is with the European Union at the moment, with part of the single market there. You break that up, obviously it’s a big penalty for the country.”

He also believes it will determine Scotland’s future as well.

“Look, people are angry, they’re frustrated, they want in a sense to rattle the cage of people in power. All of which I completely understand, but at a certain point you need answers as well as anger, and you need to take level headed decisions. I hope and believe they will vote to stay, if we don’t by the way, I think Scotland would almost certainly vote to leave Britain as well.”

As for the race to the White House, Blair declined to endorse a candidate, but did discuss what the next President needs to do.

“Who you elect is up to you. It’s the choice of the American people so I don’t want to get into who should be president and so on, that’s an American decision.

I think what people want obviously is people want an America that is strong, and clear and can build alliances in the world.”

When it comes to how the British feel about GOP front runner Donald Trump, Blair said: “I don’t know how they feel, but they’re probably like most people and like most of you here -- somewhat surprised. Let’s put it in diplomatic and neutral way.”