POLITICS

Labour Party Tells Tony Blair It Has 'Learned Lessons' From His Mistakes

11/04/2013 10:40 BST | Updated 11/04/2013 10:42 BST

The Labour Party has said it has learned "lessons" from the mistakes made by Tony Blair, after the former prime minister criticised the direction the party was headed in under Ed Miliband.

In one of his most significant interventions in domestic politics since leaving Downing Street in 2007, Blair warned Miliband not to "tack left on tax and spending or tack right on immigration and Europe".

Writing in the New Statesman, the former prime minister said Labour's "guiding principle" should be to seek answers, not become the "repository for people's anger".

In what has been widely interpreted as an attack on Miliband, Blair said the party needed to needed to be more than a "simple fellow-traveller in sympathy" with voters. "In these times, above all, people want leadership," he said.

Under Miliband the Labour Party has fiercely criticised the coalition's cuts to benefits, signalled a move to the right on immigration and sided with Tory eurosceptics to call for a cut in the EU Budget.

A Labour spokesperson told Politics Home on Thursday morning: "It is always important to listen to Tony Blair because he has important points to make, including in this article where he emphasises our top priority must be growth and jobs. As he was the first to recognise, politics always has to move on to cope with new challenges and different circumstances.

"For example, on immigration, Labour is learning lessons about the mistakes in office and crafting an immigration policy that will make Britain's diversity work for all not just a few.

"It is by challenging old ways of doing things, showing we have understood what we did right and wrong during our time in office that One Nation Labour will win back people's trust."