Sun, 10 December 2023

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Press releases

Tony Blair: Labour should be 20 points ahead of the Conservatives

2 min read

Tony Blair has paid tribute to the election campaign run by Jeremy Corbyn - but insisted that Labour should be 20 points ahead of Theresa May's embattled government in the opinion polls.

The former Prime Minister said Mr Corbyn had shown "a lot of character" in the campaign, which saw Labour outperform predictions and deny Mrs May a Commons majority.

But he said that with the Prime Minister under pressure over Brexit, sex scandals and the loss of two Cabinet ministers in a week, the party should be doing much better.

Appearing on Radio Four's Today programme, he said: "I pay tribute to the campaign (Corbyn) ran, I think that he showed a lot of character in the way that he ran that campaign. He generated a lot of enthusiasm. I buy all of that.

"But I also think that it's important and salutary for us to remember this government is in a greater degree of mess than any government I can remember. Even in the 1990s the Tory government was a paragon of stability compared with this, and yet we're a couple of points ahead and I think I'm right that (Corbyn) is not yet ahead of her as Prime Minister.

"So I pay tribute to all of that, but I still say 'Come on guys, we should be 15, 20 points ahead'."

Mr Blair also denied claims by Gordon Brown that he had promised to stand down midway through the second term of the last Labour government.

In his new autobiography, the former Chancellor insisted as part of the deal, he had agreed to stand aside to let Mr Blair run for the Labour leadership in 1994.

But Mr Blair said: "That wouldn't have been an appropriate offer to make.

"It's always worth reflecting on the fact that before we came to power in 1997, the Labour party had never won two full terms. The longest it had ever been in power for consecutive years was six years. We ended up with three full terms and more than double that.

"That was partly because the work two of us - and there were problems later, real policy differences as both of us have described - nonetheless the benefits of that partnership, I think, were able to be realised partly because we hadn't ended up with a huge scrap at the beginning."

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe


Political parties