Tony Blair blasts ‘foolish’ conspiracy theory that Russians could have swung Brexit vote

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TONY Blair has blasted “foolish” conspiracy theories that Russian meddling swung the Brexit vote. 

But the former PM, who was one of the top campaigners for Remain, said any interference by Moscow should be probed to learn lessons. 

He said: “I’m anti-Brexit but I don’t believe the referendum result was because of Russian interference.

“That would be foolish. 

“But the Government should investigate for the future at any rate. You can investigate it without believing it’s the reason we got Brexit.” 

The long-awaited Russia report published last week found no evidence that Moscow had influenced the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum. 

It warned it was “impossible to assess” any level of involvement from Russia and instead demanded a further probe.

But it also rapped the UK Government for actively turning a blind eye by refusing to probe any Kremlin involvement. 

Mr Blair warned meddling in our democracy from hostile countries like Russia and China will become “more and more widespread”. 

He said the best way to stop them is to give the security services the tools they need to “expose” their actions. 

The ex PM also said he believes No 10 can get a deal with the EU this year and won’t be “relaxed” about the idea of leaving without one. 

He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge today that ministers won’t want to “stack up” extra trade barriers to Europe on top of the pandemic fallout and cooling relations with China. 

Last week both Britain and the EU accepted they wouldn’t meet a July deadline to seal a trade deal.

But the UK is hopeful that one can be done by the end of September instead.

Michel Barnier said at the moment one was “unlikely” but talks would continue.

Informal discussions will happen in London this week, with formal talks on the cards again in August.

Both sides are still at loggerheads over whether Britain will stay close to EU rules when we leave – and over fishing rights.

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