Tony Blair feared devolution could break-up UK amid lobbying scandal claims

Tony Blair: Rachel Reeves grilled on his 'abuse of position'

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While the Government has rejected calls by the Labour Party to extend an investigation into Mr Cameron’s links with the Firm Greensill Capital, the former Prime Minister remains firmly under the spotlight. He has since apologised and said he should have sent Chancellor Rishi Sunak a letter rather than personally texting him. For many this fell short of the mark.

Mr Cameron is not alone in his dealings with private firms.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s own post-politics activities were highlighted this week.

This was after Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves was caught out while blasting Mr Cameron’s abuse of power.

Good Morning Britain’s host Adil Ray pointed out to the Labour MP that Mr Blair has secured many millions from investment firm J.P Morgan after he left office.

Mr Blair dominated UK politics for ten years from 1997 to 2007, and had been Labour leader for three years before coming to power.

He is most-well remembered for taking the UK into the Iraq War and watering down Westminster’s centralised power through a mass devolution programme.

Seen by its proponents as a chance for the likes of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to have more of a say in the Union, many now believe that the scheme has brought the UK to the brink.

Mr Blair was all but aware of the far-reaching consequences of devolution, claimed Richard Wyn Jones.

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The political scientist said the politician feared that it could in the long-run devastate the UK’s ‘British’ identity.

He told “Blair inherited the commitment to devolution in Scotland and Wales.

“They were things that were, by that stage required – it was certain that they couldn’t avoid devolution in Scotland as they’d made settlements in that context, in Wales as well.

“But in doing that it’s very clear that the Blair government was deeply concerned about the implications for Britishness.

“They established the patriotism tsar, and there was a sense of, ‘We need to maintain British identity alongside these devolved bodies’.

“In that way things are similar with today’s Government and its use of the flag – that was done back then, because it was felt that they needed to maintain Britishness alongside giving the Scots and the Welsh what they wanted.”

The most salient example of Mr Blair’s devolution being pushed to its outer limits is in Scotland.

The country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has in recent years demanded more powers be transferred to Holyrood.


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It has culminated in a now almost inevitable independence vote taking place after May’s Holyrood elections.

Wales’s independence campaign has also gained momentum.

An ITV poll in March found that 40 percent of respondents would vote “Yes” to breaking away from the UK if a referendum were held immediately.

Things remain more complicated in Northern Ireland, with recent skirmishes in Belfast highlighting deep-rooted political disagreements.

However, Brendan O’Leary, an expert on Northern Ireland, said there has been a “shift in enthusiasm” in Northern Ireland for Irish unification”.

He told Al Jazeera last month: “People believe as a result of Brexit that Northern contentment with the world after the Good Friday Agreement is no longer settled and in addition the UK itself is unstable.”

While Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer has moved to kill-off comparisons of himself and Mr Blair, his “devomax” announcement last year appears to align perfectly with the former leader’s New Labour vision.

In December he said the party would open a “constitutional commission” that would spread devolution to all corners of the UK should Labour win power in the 2024 general election.

Ms Sturgeon branded him a “constitutional tinkerer” on hearing the plans.

She added that Scottish Labour had no chance of challenging the SNP’s dominance in Scotland.

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