POLITICS
07/09/2018 07:38 BST | Updated 07/09/2018 14:10 BST

Tony Blair Doubts Labour Can Be Taken Back By Moderates' Because Of 'Profound' Changes Made Under Corbyn

'It is a different type of Labour Party.'

TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair doubts Labour can be taken back by 'moderates'

Tony Blair says he is “not sure it is possible” for Labour “moderates” to take the party back from the left because it has been through a “profound change” under Jeremy Corbyn. 

“It is a different type of Labour Party. Can it be taken back? I don’t know,” the former Labour leader told the BBC

Speaking on Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking Podcast, Blair said the British public would never elect Corbyn as prime minister and further hinted at the emergence of a new “progressive, moderate” party that would fill the “vacuum” between Labour and the Tories.

Blair has been linked with the formation of a new centre ground” party, but has never publicity backed it. 

“I don’t think the British people will tolerate a situation where, for example, the choice at the next election is Boris Johnson versus Jeremy Corbyn,” the former prime minister said.

Without speculating on how it would happen, Blair said he believes “something will fill that vacuum”. 

He said there was a large constituency of voters who backed “socially liberal, progressive” politics but also believed in “a strong private enterprise sector alongside a state that is capable of helping people”.

Blair said he was not as doubtful as other people around him that his wing of Labour could not regain control.

“There [are] lots of people associated with me who feel that the Labour Party is lost, that the game’s over,” he said, before adding: “I am hoping they are not right.”

Blair spoke to the BBC about the anti-Semitism row that continues to engulf the party, saying that “I just can’t imagine (it) ever having happened in the Labour Party that I joined”.

He added: “I can’t imagine that we have had three to four months debating over something where we have profoundly insulted the Jewish community in our country.”

Following Blair’s interview the founder of the Corbynite Momentum movement, Jon Lansman, said the party would “never” return to the former PM’s policies.

Lansman wrote on Twitter: “Tony Blair was never in the right party and there will never be a return to his politics in UK Labour.”

The National Executive Committee member said that Blair-era policies like the minimum wage and Sure Start nurseries should be credited to other leaders.

“Sure Start thanks to Gordon Brown, Min Wage thanks to John Smith, the Tragic lost leader we should have had as PM in 1997,” he wrote.

Blair has been one of Corbyn harshest critics, warning in 2015 that the party faced “annihilation” if he became leader.