The former Democratic president of the United States and once Labour Prime Minister of Britain were close allies when in office, both strong proponents of a corporatist, pro-globalisation new brand of “third way” centre-left politics.
Mr. Clinton’s visit is intended to reinforce the message delivered by President Obama two weeks ago. He claimed the UK would go to the “back of the queue” for future trade deals if it left the EU.
Mr. Clinton’s itinerary cannot be confirmed until his wife, Hillary Clinton, is certain she has secured the Democratic nomination for the presidential election in November. One source said, however, told the Times: “We expect this will happen”.
Last month, Mrs. Clinton urged the British people to stay inside the EU. In a statement to the Observer, her senior policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, said:
“Hillary Clinton believes that transatlantic cooperation is essential, and that cooperation is strongest when Europe is united. She has always valued a strong United Kingdom in a strong EU. And she values a strong British voice in the EU.”
Mr. Obama’s “inappropriate” intervention in the Brexit debate last month was met with anger on the Leave side, and has generally been seen as failure.
A YouGov poll last week put the Leave campaign two points ahead, meaning Mr. Obama’s attempt to influence the result may even have backfired.
Whether a joint intervention by Mr. Blair and former President Clinton would succeed in keeping Britain in the EU, therefore, is yet to eb seen. Mr. Clinton is significantly less popular with the British people than Mr. Obama, who is trusted by 35 per cent of voters. Tony Blair is actively disliked by many.
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