WATCH: Tony Blair admits Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister

Posted On: 
16th July 2017

Tony Blair has admitted that Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister running on a leftwing policy agenda.

Tony Blair admitted a leftwing programme could propel Jeremy Corbyn to power
Credit: 
PA

The former prime minister said he had had to reconsider his belief that electoral success could only come with a centrist programme. 

But he insisted that centrist politics still offered the best solutions to the problems facing the UK.

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Appearing on the BBC's Newsnight programme, Mr Blair said: "For most of my political life I’ve been saying “I think this is the right way to go, and what’s more it’s the only way to win an election”.  I have to qualify that now.  I have to say “no, I think it’s possible you end up with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister”.

"You can’t rule anything out in today’s politics, but it doesn’t stop me believing that if we deliver Brexit and at the same time are delivering the programme he has at the moment, unreconstructed, unchanged, we will be in for a very very difficult time as a country. I still think the surest route is through the centre."

It comes after his warning that Mr Corbyn's "unreconstructed hard left economics" would see Britain "hit the canvas". 

 

 

'TREMENDOUS APPEAL'

Elsewhere Mr Blair insisted his brand of centrist politics was still popular with a large section of the British public.

"You're absolutely right that it did have an impact, that's true but unfortunately it doesn't make the policies right," he told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

"People say to me centrism, the kind of centre-left progressive politics that I represent, or the centre-right, that's had its day, it's gone - it wasn't on offer and I do point out that neither party won a majority and I still believe that provided the centre becomes the place to advocate change - because people do want change, they need change, in a world that's changing we have got to change - provided the centre becomes the place where you can start answering some of these questions then I think that politics still has tremendous validity and tremendous support in the country.

"And it's better to provide the answers than to just ride the anger...

And he claimed that many people turned to Labour not because they supported Mr Corbyn's positions, but because they rejected the Conservatives' agenda.

"I think a lot of people voted Labour not because they thought he was about to be Prime Minister, Labour was about to win but because they were horrified at the Tory campaign and wanted to put the breaks on it," he said.
 
"Secondly, although significant numbers of people for sure voted for him with enthusiasm I think there were an awful lot of people who voted for him because they couldn't stomach the Tories and wanted to make a point and I'm sceptical myself that this is a coalition that's capable of holding, particularly if it becomes clear that we're really in the same position as the Tories on Brexit."