POLITICS

Tony Blair: 'Ultra-Left' Takeover Of Labour Means Tories Do Not Fear Opposition

03/04/2017 10:24 | Updated 03 April 2017
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Tony Blair has said the “ultra-left” take over of Labour by Jeremy Corbyn means the party is in a worse position that it was in the 1980s.

The former prime minister told Progress magazine the current Labour leader had “failed” in his “fundamental duty” to hold Theresa May’s government to account.

In an interview with Labour MPs Wes Streeting and Ruth Smeeth, Blair said Labour had to “make them wake up every morning and fear us”.

A YouGov poll on Friday suggested Corbyn was now more unpopular in London than May, Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas - and even Paul Nuttall.

The Labour leader has a net negative approval rating of -44%. However Sadiq Khan, the city’s Labour mayor, had a rating of +35%.

PA Wire/PA Images

Blair said of Labour’s position: “I don’t want to depress you, but there is a big difference between the ‘80s and now. In the 1980s, the ultra-left never took control.

“It wasn’t the ‘79 defeat that did for Labour really, it was the ‘79-’83 period when it looked like that ultra-leftist politics was taking over. That was what cratered the Labour party,”

Blair added: “We [have] failed in what is our fundamental duty to the British people, that is to be a competitive opposition. Just ask yourself one simple question: In the prime minister’s office, in Tory high command, how much of their time do they spend worrying about the prospect of a Labour victory at the present time? I would guess zero.”

Blair said the only way for Labour to get back into power was to fight from the centre-ground.

“The worst thing we can do, is think that a leftist populism is going to beat a rightist populism,” he said.

“If you put a rightwing populism up against a leftist populism, the rightwing populism will win every time.”

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