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Blair suggests UK hold second referendum on EU

Blair says the case put forward for leaving the European Union has crumbled.

FILE: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has suggested that the UK should hold a second referendum on leaving the European Union (EU) as it becomes clear what the ramifications are.

He says the 48% who had voted to Remain felt "disenfranchised" and that the country should keep its options open.

The current Prime Minister David Cameron and the opposition leader, though, have both ruled out a second EU referendum.

However, Blair says the case put forward for leaving the EU has crumbled and that if the will of the people shifts, that move should be recognised.

Calls for a second referendum grew louder over the weekend when thousands marched on Parliament in protest.

An online petition calling for one has been signed by more than four million people.

However, experts say the petition would have to show that a clear majority of the electorate now favoured "Remain" for a second referendum to be triggered.

UK FACING PROSPECTS OF RECESSION

Facing the prospect of a recession, Britain's small specialist lenders could struggle to cope with a downturn, especially in the small and medium-sized business sector that is their lifeblood.

The promises of the so-called challenger banks - many just a few years old - to improve customer choice and challenge the dominance of big High Street lenders are looking shaky after Britain voted to leave the European Union, some investors and analysts say.

The challenger banks' ability to take business from lenders HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland relies on healthy bank funding markets and a buoyant UK economy with rising demand for loans.

But as economists slash UK growth forecasts and borrowers and home buyers run for cover, those three factors could be under threat.

The UK could go into recession in the coming year, according to economists and strategists polled by Reuters. Britain last had a recession in 2008-2009, following the financial crisis.