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Brexit

Possibility of a second referendum 'has somewhat increased', Blair says

File photo dated 29/03/18 of Tony Blair. Theresa May could have to delay the March 2019 Brexit date because of the political impasse over the UK's future outside the EU, Mr Blair will say. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 27, 2018. The former prime minister will use a major speech to hit out at both the Tories and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour over the state of the Brexit process, demanding a more assertive Parliament and a fresh referendum on any deal with the EU. See PA story POLITICS Blair. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said there is now more than a 50% chance that a second Brexit referendum could be held.

Asked if he stood by his previous statement that there was a "50/50 percent chance" of second referendum, Mr Blair said: "No I would say it's probably somewhat increased, but I mean when I said 50% most people would have said that's ridiculously optimistic."

He added that "if the country ends up making a choice" on the Brexit situation, the choices will be "very, very difficult".

The former leader of the Labour party, who was elected Prime Minister in 1997 and stepped down 10 years later to allow Gordon Brown to take over, was speaking to Reuters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Mr Blair said parliament had two choices: "A Brexit that's pointless - staying close to Europe's rules, becoming a rule taker - or a Brexit that's painful, if you break out of the European system that we'd been trading in for four and a half decades.

"The reason we've got this problem in the British parliament is that the real options have dawned on the members of parliament and therefore there's not really a majority at the moment for any Brexit proposition.

"There's not yet a majority for a second referendum but I think it's possible there will be."

He has been an outspoken critic of Brexit in the past and speaking to Radio Four's Today programme earlier this month he said a no deal would be a "catastrophe" for the UK and would cause "profound damage" to the economy.