POLITICS

Tony Blair Denies Saying Ed Miliband Can't Beat David Cameron In 2015

25/10/2014 08:58 BST | Updated 25/10/2014 09:59 BST
Dan Kitwood/PA Archive
Leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speak before Queen Elizabeth II addressed both Houses of Parliament as part of her visit to mark her Diamond Jubilee year.

Tony Blair has been forced to deny claims that he believes the Conservatives will win in the next General Election because of Ed Miliband’s failure to connect with voters.

The former Prime Minister, who is the most successful politician in Labour's election history, had been quoted in a Telegraph report as telling "long-standing political allies" that Miliband "cannot beat David Cameron" in May 2015.

“The Conservatives will be the next government because Labour has failed to make a good case for itself. That is what Tony thinks,” the source apparently said. “He does not think that Miliband can beat Cameron.”

But now, Blair has taken to Twitter to deny such claims, saying that "the Telegraph story does not represent my view."

But it would not be the first time Blair had been hesitant in his support for the Labour leader after he warned Miliband about retreating into a left-wing "comfort zone" in July.

At the time, Blair argued that the party had not developed a "narrative" for the future of the UK.

tony blair

Nevertheless, Miliband is currently facing a crisis within his own party after Johann Lamont dramatically resigned as leader of the Scottish Labour Party accusing the Westminster leadership of being "between two sets of dinosaurs."

The Glasgow MSP called for greater autonomy for the Scottish party and fiercely criticised UK colleagues for not understanding the politics of post-referendum Scotland.

Speculation surrounded her leadership after last month's Scottish independence referendum, despite her pledge to lead Labour into the 2016 Holyrood elections.

Announcing her resignation, Ms Lamont told the Daily Record: "Just as the SNP must embrace that devolution is the settled will of the Scottish people, the Labour Party must recognise that the Scottish party has to be autonomous and not just a branch office of a party based in London.

johann lamont

Ed Miliband and former Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamon

"Scotland has chosen to remain in partnership with our neighbours in the UK. But Scotland is distinct and colleagues must recognise that," she said.

"There is a danger of Scottish politics being between two sets of dinosaurs ... the Nationalists who can't accept they were rejected by the people, and some colleagues at Westminster who think nothing has changed."

"The Scottish Labour Party should work as equal partners with the UK party, just as Scotland is an equal partner in the United Kingdom. Scotland has chosen home rule - not London rule."

She added: "This has been orchestrated by people who do not understand the politics they are facing. Scotland has changed forever after the referendum."

Responding to her resignation, Miliband thanked Lamont for the "successful No vote in the Scottish referendum campaign."

"Having elected a new leader, I believe the party will show the same will and determination it did in the referendum campaign to help us to victory in the general election of 2015 and the Scottish elections of 2016," he added.

johann lamont

Earlier this week, Scottish Labour was described as "going through a period of reflection" after the referendum, in which large numbers of its supporters voted to leave the UK despite the overall majority of Scots backing the union.

Labour former first minister Lord McConnell said the party must rediscover its ''sense of purpose''.

A new group of Labour activists want radical changes, such as changing the name to the Independent Labour Party and becoming fully autonomous from Labour's London leadership.