Blair allies considering starting new party if Corbyn stays on - report

Posted On: 
14th May 2017

Allies of Tony Blair are reportedly working on plans to create a new political party if Labour lose the general election but Jeremy Corbyn refuses to step down as leader. 

Tony Blair speaking at a conference on Brexit earlier this week
Credit: 
PA

According to the Sunday Times, Labour moderates would prefer to take back control of the party from within, but are conscious that it may prove impossible to unseat the leftwinger. 

Mr Corbyn has so far been unclear as to his position if Labour slip to the defeat which the opinion polls suggest they will suffer on 8 June. 

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A friend of Mr Blair told the paper the "priority" after the election would be to regain control of the party's National Executive Committee and try to change the rules governing Labour leadership elections, so that MPs have a greater say. 

"Once control has been regained, this task can begin with a new leader prepared to undertake it. If we do not get such a leader, then we have to think again," the source added.

Another source who formerly worked for Mr Blair told the paper: “People are waiting to see just how bad the damage is on June 9. They will look at the results and say, ‘Is this horse a dead horse or can it still be revived? Some people have already come to the conclusion that it can’t and therefore something else will have to be born."

Under the current rules a candidate only needs the support of 15% of colleagues to get on the ballot, a task which would ironically become easier for Mr Corbyn if Labour were to lose scores of seats. 

"Fifteen per cent of 150 MPs is nothing," a Blairite source said. "The moderates can do the maths, which is why they are starting to think other thoughts.”

A former Labour frontbencher told the Sunday Times they were disappointed that David Miliband had not returned to the political frontline to contest a seat at the election.

“Where was he? He should have been in this fight," they said.