Blair Backs U.K. Leader May's Decision to Get Close to Trumpby
Ex-premier attacks May on Brexit but supports U.S. approach
Says ‘important’ for prime minister to work with president
Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair attacked current leader Theresa May over her Brexit policy, but in one area he supports her: her budding relationship with Donald Trump.
May visited Trump within a week of his inauguration and drew criticism for inviting him to make a state visit to Britain. A petition against that trip got 1.9 million signatures and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow swears he’ll block any attempt to invite the president to address Parliament.
But Blair, who was criticized for his closeness to the last Republican president, George W. Bush, said May was making the right choice. An Ipsos-Mori poll also found 53 percent supported the invite, against 42 percent who opposed it.
“I certainly am not criticizing the prime minister for reaching out to President Trump,” the former Labour Party leader told Bloomberg Television in London after delivering a speech against the U.K. leaving the European Union. “It’s important that she builds a strong relationship.”
May might not care for a predecessor’s support on U.S.-U.K. ties given that his relationship with Bush is linked in the public mind with the invasion of Iraq, a decision that divided Britain. Blair also took several swipes at May, accusing her Conservative government of being a “jumble of contradictions.”