Daily Express: Blair admits he ‘did not know’ how many people would come to the UK after EU expansion20 March 2017 | 05:16 | FOCUS News Agency
The former Prime Minister relaxed the immigration controls in 2004 after a drastic expansion of the EU to include Poland, Lithuania and Hungary, alongside seven other countries.
Blair chose not to impose transitional controls on migration from the new member states, which meant there was not a cap on the numbers arriving in the UK.
“When these countries joined the EU, [it was] very important for us that they did join the EU - important for our security, important for our economy.
“There was freedom of movement of people immediately. We could have delayed for four years their ability to come here and work.
“We didn’t, it’s true, the economy was in a completely different position in 2004. But I just point out the majority of EU immigration came post-2008.”
The former Labour leader attempted to defend his actions, claiming it was a good idea and helped security and the economy.
He made a factual error as he suggested he would only have been able to impose controls for four years but other EU nations, including Germany, introduced them for up to seven years.
Speaking to Andrew Marr, he added: “One of the tragedies of Brexit is we're now in a situation where where we think this enlargement of the EU, like the single market, was some sort of error.
“It was actually a bi-partisan policy of both governments that has done great benefit to this country.”
Blair is still clinging to the hope that the British public will change their minds regarding Brexit.
He continued: “My view is very simply I agree at the moment the argument for many people is over. But if, as you go down this path, the British people realise three things that I think it could change.”
© 2017 All rights reserved. Citing Focus Information Agency is mandatory!