Tony Blair says Labour is now facing an ‘existential crisis’
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Tony Blair has warned that Labour faces an existential crisis after the general election result.
Tony Blair, who is the only Labour leader to have won a general election in the last 45 years, is to use a speech on Wednesday to urge against a "whitewash" of the party's worst general election result since 1935.
And he will tell an audience in central London that Labour faces being "replaced" if the party does not revitalise itself as a "serious, progressive" alternative to the Tories.
Corbyn told a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party in the Commons on Tuesday evening that he is "very sorry for the result, for which I take responsibility".
He maintained his defence that Brexit was a major reason voters lost their trust in Labour, and repeated his criticism of the media.
You may also want to watch:
Corbyn also told his MPs to vote against Boris Johnson's Brexit deal because it imposes an "impossible timetable" to get a "good" trade deal with the EU by the end of the transition period.
But the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to implement Brexit is almost certain to pass now the prime minister has an 80-strong majority, due to the Tories' emphatic victory.
- 1 Boris Johnson warned majority will be 'wiped out' over treatment towards north of England
- 2 Boris Johnson 'frantically repositioning' himself for Donald Trump to lose election
- 3 UKIP set to select 'Dr Gammons' as candidate for London mayoral election
- 4 Third Tory MP who rejected extending free school meals is targeted with local protests
- 5 Danny Dyer praised for criticisms of Tory party - pointing out Etonians can't run the country
- 6 Piers Morgan calls Boris Johnson a 'blustering buffoon' in attack on PM's handling of Covid-19 pandemic
- 7 Government hands private companies £180m to carry out Brexit contracts
- 8 Boris Johnson 'hid in bedroom' to avoid grilling on Brexit stance days before becoming PM
- 9 Tory MP blames 'chaotic parents' for children going to school hungry
- 10 James Cleverly mocked after telling people to 'look at how they're doing in Wales'
A series of MPs criticised Corbyn during the meeting, of which veteran critic Dame Margaret Hodge said "on the whole it was fury, despair, miserable".
Former shadow work and pensions shadow Rachel Reeves said she told the meeting Labour needs "radical change" and to get a leader "that actually wants to win".
Labour's Lord Falconer, a former justice secretary, told BBC's Newsnight: "The feeling is like a volcano of molten anger that is absolutely pouring out. It's been there in the building the whole day."
Numerous Labour MPs said, however, that Corbyn was not told to go immediately, with them apparently supporting his plan to depart after overseeing a "process of reflection".
The new leader is expected to be in place by the end of March.
Blair, whose former Sedgefield constituency fell to the Tories in Thursday's election, is to warn that "any attempt to whitewash this defeat, pretend it is something other than it is, or the consequence of something other than the obvious, will cause irreparable damage to our relationship with the electorate".
The former PM's warning comes as his Tony Blair Institute for Global Change publishes a report blaming the defeat on factors including Corbyn's neutral Brexit stance, perceived associations with extremism and allegations of a lack of patriotism.
A Labour source defended Corbyn and blamed Blair for having overseen the start of the party's decline.
"It is a devastating result, but it's important not to oversteer. The case for a bold and radical Labour government is as strong now as it was last Thursday," said one.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.