Tony Blair on new centrist party: “I’m not the man for the job”

PUBLISHED: 11:55 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:55 10 April 2018

Former prime minister Tony Blair 
Photo: PA / Kirsty O'Connor

Former prime minister Tony Blair Photo: PA / Kirsty O'Connor

PA Wire/PA Images

Tony Blair has ruled out leading any new political party but warned both Labour and the Tories there is a “vast uncultivated centre ground” in British politics.

But the former prime minister did say the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change was working on a raft of policies which could be used by a new political movement.

Blair – who shifted Labour to the centre and enjoyed an unprecedented three victories at the ballot box – insisted he was not involved in the formation of the new party which is believed to have raised as much as £50m in funds.

Speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4, Blair accused the Tories of being “increasingly defined by Brexit” and engaging in a “narrow-minded nationalism” while Labour was “increasingly in the grip of the far left”.

“There is a constituency in this country which is socially liberal, in favour of strong methods of social justice but also believes in a well-run, properly run, enterprising economy,” he added.

“We have got an old fashioned Conservative Party and a Labour Party that’s got, frankly, reheated politics from the days I remember as a student.

“And I don’t think either of those things answer the challenges of the country.”

But he insisted he was not involved in organising a new party adding that he was not “the right person to do that”.

On the Assad regime, Blair said: “They are winning, but they are winning because their outside backers are prepared to intervene and to commit and frankly we have not been able now... well, it’s not just about going to war with Russia, it’s because of the difficulties of intervention.

“As we know, as I know, it’s extremely difficult, but the problem is non-intervention is also a policy with consequence ... Iraq shows you that intervening is extremely difficult, but non-intervention as we see from Syria is also extremely difficult.”

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