Tony Blair says main parties should 'worry a lot' about the Lib Dem threat

PUBLISHED: 11:37 19 September 2019

Former prime minister Tony Blair. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor.

Former prime minister Tony Blair. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor.

PA Wire/PA Images

Tony Blair has said that both the Tories and Labour should "worry a lot" about the Liberal Democrats taking over the centre ground of politics.

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The former Labour prime minister was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the fate of the two-party system.

He said: "What will destroy the two-party system is if it becomes clear that the two main parties have moved so far away from the centre that the gap in the centre has to be filled in order to be representative of the state of opinion.

"You will get a new political group or force emerging that could challenge one of the two main parties."

He added that this will be necessary "if the two parties stick where they are".

In contrast to the Labour party's current direction, Blair has argued strongly against Brexit and in favour of a second referendum.

He claimed that young, politically driven people currently feel they have no political home.

He added: "You only have to look at the Liberal Democrats now, at their party conference. For the first time in a long time, they are looking a much more serious group of people.

"Why is that? Because people have come from the Labour Party, come from the Conservative Party, and they've got a coherent argument.

"If I was the two main parties at the moment, I would worry a lot about that."

MORE: JAMES BALL: Revocation policy shows Lib Dems can still have their cake and eat it

Warning against any assumption he might defect to the Lib Dems, he clarified that he was still "very tribally and deeply attached to the Labour Party".

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But he added: "If over a long period of time, someone from outside your political party is making an argument you think is more sensible, it starts to pull you in the opposite direction."

He said he had a "deep level of frustration" about the current positions of both the Labour and Conservative parties.

On Brexit, he also said that he believed David Cameron had taken the decision to call a referendum "in good faith".

"I might not agree with that, but to conduct politics in the sense that a political leader is acting in bad faith when they take a decision you disagree with, that's part of the problem with politics. Because people can do things in good faith that you disagree with."

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