Tony Blair has told Good Morning Britain how he believes Labour can win back voters following a crushing defeat at English local elections.
The former Prime Minister told Susanna Reid and former Labour strategist Alastair Campbell that the party and Sir Keir Starmer needed to present itself as a “centre ground, you’re a moderate, forward-thinking political party”.
The ex-leader also released a stinging criticism of the party in an opinion piece for the New Statesman, saying that the party needed “total deconstruction and reconstruction”.
He wrote: “political parties have no divine right to exist and progressive parties of the centre and centre left are facing marginalisation, even extinction, across the Western world.”
What did Tony Blair say on Good Morning Britain?
The former Labour leader was asked by Campbell if he believed that the Labour Party could win another general election.
Blair, who won three general elections, responded that the party needed to reclaim the centre ground.
He blamed the party’s shift to the left for the Conservative Party’s current dominance.
Blair said: “If you go back 120 years in Labour's history there are three occasions in which the far-left have got near to the leadership of the Labour party; 1935, 1983, 2019. All of them have been the worst defeats we’ve had, but only in the last defeat, 2019, did the far-left actually capture the leadership of the party itself.
Tony Blair suggested that Sir Keir Starmer needed to present a clear alternative vision to Jeremy Corbyn, stating: “you can agree with Jeremy Corbyn, don’t agree with him, but it was a dramatic change in the type of Labour Party that had been put forward and when you do something like that you can’t just recover easily, you’ve got to spell out what is now different.
"It’s not just a different leader, the question is what’s your vision for the country? Where do you stand as a Labour Party? Are you still with that left agenda?
"Or do you go to being - in my opinion the only way Labour ever wins - you’re in the centre ground, you’re a moderate, forward-thinking political party, working with businesses as well as trade unions. Personal responsibility as well as social responsibility. Where do you pitch your tent? What’s the ground you’re trying to hold?”
What did Tony Blair say about Labour in the New Statesman?
In the New Statesman, Blair described Sir Keir as “sensible but not radical”.
He wrote: “Keir seems sensible but not radical. He lacks a compelling economic message. And the cultural message, because he is not clarifying it, is being defined by the ‘woke’ left, whose every statement gets cut-through courtesy of the right.”
“Sir Keir is “struggling to break through with the public, and last week’s elections are a major setback, [and now Labour is] asking whether Keir is the right leader”.
Blair outlined his scepticism of the ‘woke left’ writing: “a progressive party seeking power which looks askance at the likes of Trevor Phillips, Sara Khan, or JK Rowling, is not going to win”.
“People are suspicious that behind the agenda of many of the culture warriors on the left lies an ideology they find alien and extreme.”
The former Number 10 resident also raised concerns about the decline of progressive governments around the world, writing: “leave to one side Joe Biden, and around today’s Western world there are only flickers of a progressive agenda with deep majority support.”