Tony Blair is hunting for a new office near Westminster as he plots a return to frontline politics to influence the Government’s approach to Brexit.
The former prime minister believes the Tories are ‘screwing up Brexit’ and views Jeremy Corbyn is ‘a nutter,’ according to a source who has spoken to Mr Blair.
He thinks there’s a ‘massive hole in British politics’ that he can fill. Mr Blair is setting up a new institute that will seek to influence and advise the Brexit process.
Mr Blair has scouted out three potential venues close to Westminster to relocate his workforce of 130 staff, the Sunday Times reported today.
A source who has spoken about Brexit with Mr Blair told the newspaper: ‘He’s not impressed with Theresa May. He thinks she’s a total lightweight.’
The controversial former PM is expected to meet Mrs May for a coffee in the coming weeks, but Mrs May is understood to view Mr Blair as part of an ‘unholy alliance’ of yesterday’s politicians who are trying to frustrate the Brexit process.
Mr Blair has met former Chancellor George Osborne and other key figures to discuss Brexit. He will make a ‘proper announcement’ about his intentions in the New Year, his office said today.
But the the strength of his intention to return to frontline politics was revealed last week when he met Donald Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner, a key member of the President-elect’s inner team.
Notably, Mr Blair has chosen to recruit former Labour MP Jim Murphy to advise him on how to merge his charity and business interests and to ‘bolster the political clout’ of his new Brexit-focused organisation.
It is a strange appointment considering Mr Murphy led Scottish Labour to its worst election performance in history as the party lost all but one of their MPs in Scotland under his leadership at last year’s General Election.
The two names being considered for his new group are the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and the Tony Blair Centre for Global Change.
A spokesperson for Mr Blair said: ‘Tony Blair has already announced that he is bringing all staff under one roof. So yes the London staff will all come together in one location. It won’t be in Westminster, however.
‘The new organisation will be all Not For Profit, as we have announced, and the commercial side has been shut down. The assets of the business will be gifted to the new Not For Profit organisation.
‘Mr. Blair has not had ‘regular’ discussions with George Osborne regarding Brexit, though he has discussed it with him as he has with many people.
‘He does discuss the Middle East and aid with Government Ministers because he is still very active in the Middle East and Africa with his Not For Profit work. He hasn’t discussed Brexit with Government Ministers.
’Mr. Blair will make a proper announcement around all of this in the New Year.’
Mr Blair has been one of the most outspoken campaigners for a second EU referendum.
Last month he said voters must be given the chance to chair their minds on the EU and called for the losing Remain campaign to become the ‘new insurgents’.
He issued a rallying cry in an article in the New European newspaper, urging supporters of Britain’s membership of the EU to mobilise, organise and to ‘prise apart the alliance which gave us Brexit’.
He told Remain voters to ‘believe in the people’s innate sense, that they’re also open to a better argument in the light of the facts as they come to light’.
Mr Blair wants a second EU vote on the final deal that Mrs May secures with Brussels before Britain officially leaves even though Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty says any nation that triggers the clause will automatically leave the union after two years.
He criticised David Cameron’s government, saying it was ‘bizarre’ that the Government had held a referendum ‘without knowing the terms of our new relationship’.
And Remarkably, Mr Blair – the man blamed for creating deep-rooted animosity towards the EU because of his decision to agree to open-border immigration from the bloc in 2004 – has said of his call for a second referendum: ‘This is not about an elite over-ruling the people.’
He said last month: ‘There is absolutely no reason why we should close off any options. You can’t change this decision, unless it becomes clear in one way or another, that the British people have had a change of mind because they have seen the reality of the alternative.
‘We are entitled to carry on scrutinising, and, yes, if necessary, to change our minds, because it seems sensible to us to do so. This is not about an elite over-ruling the people.’