WATCH: Tony Blair tells Jeremy Corbyn ‘enough is enough’ as he mounts angry defence of New Labour years

Posted On: 
14th June 2019

Tony Blair has lashed out at Jeremy Corbyn for attacking the record of the last Labour government.

Credit: 
PA

The former Prime Minister accused his successor as party leader of suggesting that Conservative and Labour governments had been “all the same” over the past thirty years, as he declared: “Enough is enough.”

The intervention comes after Mr Corbyn told an education conference last week: “For decades we’ve been told that inequality doesn’t matter because the education system will allow talented and hard-working people to succeed whatever their background.”

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And it follows Mr Corbyn’s 2018 comments to a trade union gathering, when he said Labour was now “back as the political voice of the working class”.

"For 30 years, the media and the establishment tried to tell us that class doesn't matter any more and that we should ditch any idea of representing and advancing the interests of the working class,” Mr Corbyn had said.

But, in a new video posted online by his Institute for Global Change, Mr Blair pushed back at the criticism of his time in office.

“I don't often respond to the leader of the Labour Party's attacks on the last Labour government, but enough is enough,” he said.

Pouncing on Mr Corbyn’s comments, the ex-PM said: “Note the 'decades', the '30 years'. In other words, Thatcher Government, last Labour Government, 10 years of Tory austerity. It's all the same.

“All one unbroken line. All one policy. All one ideology.

“This is bad politics and worse history - and it is time to set the record straight.”

'PROUD'

Mr Blair - a frequent critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s record as Labour leader - reeled off a string of achievements by governments he led, saying that 1997 to 2010 had seen “the most dramatic improvements in our public services with the largest ever peacetime investment in them”.

He talked up the Government’s work to cut pensioner and child poverty, provide compensation for miners hit by breathing problems - and defended Labour’s changes to the tax and benefit system while in office.

“The poorest 10% of households gained by something like 13% in their incomes, whilst the richest 10% lost by almost 9%,” he said.

Mr Blair added: "We made the UK more equal, more fair and more socially mobile. And we never, ever said inequality didn't matter or that tackling it was not a priority of the Government.

“And by the way, what we did at home, we also did abroad, trebling help to the poorest countries, mobilising the international community in support of action against global poverty and becoming the first major developed nation to hit the 0.7% of GDP aid target.

“Of course, like any government we had faults, failures and did things people disagreed with.

“But don't tell me or those who worked with me or those who were part of the Labour Party at the time, that we did nothing for the poorest in our country or the world. We did and we're proud of it.”

 

 

The former prime minister has been a longstanding critic of Mr Corbyn's decision to shift the Labour Party leftwards, as well as his stance on Brexit. Meanwhile Mr Corbyn was a serial backbench rebel against Mr Blair when the-then leader was in office. He was also a vocal opponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Labour Party declined to comment on Mr Blair's latest video.

But pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum later said: "Blair favoured deregulation of the banking industry - leading to one of the worst crashes in modern history.

"While spending on public services was higher, his legacy will ultimately be the austerity that followed his failure to stand up to big finance."