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Tony Blair: Brexit makes independence 'more credible'

The former prime minister has warned the EU exit could lead to the end of the UK.

The case for Scottish independence is "much more credible" following the UK's vote to leave the European Union, former prime minister Tony Blair has said.

Mr Blair, who led the UK for a decade from 1997 to 2007, will make a speech on the country's decision to leave the EU in London.

The former Labour leader is aiming to reverse the public's opinion on Brexit and will warn it could lead to the break-up of Britain.

Mr Blair said: "The possibility of the break-up of the UK - narrowly avoided by the result of the Scottish referendum - is now back on the table but this time with a context much more credible for the independence case.

"We are already seeing the destabilising impact of worry over border arrangements on the Northern Ireland peace process."

Despite the case being "more credible", Mr Blair said he wants Scotland to stay in the UK "even if Brexit goes ahead".

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1378323-sturgeon-may-s-brexit-plans-makes-indyref2-even-more-likely/ | default

Mr Blair said he wants to "build a new movement" to try to convince voters to think again about backing Brexit.

He said: "They will say the will of the people can't alter. It can. They will say leaving is inevitable. It isn't. They will say we don't represent the people. We do, many millions of them, and with determination many millions more.

"This is not the time for retreat, indifference or despair but the time to rise up in defence of what we believe - calmly, patiently, winning the argument by the force of argument but without fear and with the conviction we act in the true interests of Britain."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a second independence is "highly likely" following last June's referendum and warned the current Prime Minister, Theresa May, that her plans to leave the single market have made it "even more likely".

She said: "Being part of the European single market is vital for Scotland's future economic well-being.

"And losing our place in the single market would be potentially devastating to our long-term prosperity, to jobs, investment and people's livelihoods.

"It would end our current status as part of the world's biggest free trade area, a market around eight times bigger than the UK's alone, and would have a profound and long-lasting impact on our national economic standing and our standards of living."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1378290-theresa-may-preserving-the-union-will-be-at-heart-of-brexit/ | default

Green MSP Ross Greer said the case for independence "is stronger now than it has ever been."

The Scottish Conservatives, however, say the former prime minister has misjudged the mood of the Scottish people.

John Lamont, the party's chief whip, said: "Tony Blair may not be aware of it, but the fact is that only around a quarter of people in Scotland want another referendum on independence now.

"The SNP has tried to use Brexit to muster support for separation. It has failed.

"That is because, as the majority of people in Scotland know, we solve none of the challenges of leaving the European Union by separating ourselves from our own union of nations."

Scottish Labour's only MP, Ian Murray, said the case for independence "is even worse now than when the people of Scotland rejected it in 2014."

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