Tony Blair: Labour Party Will Die If 'Unrealistic' Membership Isn't Replaced

To mark party's 120th anniversary, former prime minister warns Labour must be more reflective of wider society if it is to win power.

Tony Blair has warned it will be ”the end” of the Labour Party if its membership does not become more reflective of the country as a whole.

In a speech to mark the 120-year anniversary of the party, the former Labour prime minister said there was no point “getting rounds of applause from your activists” if the party was seen as too left-wing by the public.

Blair said while some of Labour’s 500,000 members were “an asset”, the “sectarian far-left” which had joined after Jeremy Corbyn became leader was damaging.

“I’m not sure what you can do with them – they are not an asset, I’m afraid,” he said. “They are always going to pull you to these unrealistic positions.

“The problem is the membership of the Labour Party tends to follow its leadership.”

He added: “One of the things that is going to have to happen when we get new leadership is you’re going to have to try and bring new people into the Labour Party.”

Speaking about the current Labour Party leadership contest, Blair said: “You cannot end up being obliged to have one conversation when you are talking to your party and another when you are talking to the public. That is the the end.”

Blair also said this was the “risk of the Democrats in the US now” as the party chooses its nominee to take on Donald Trump.


While the former Labour leader did not mention left-wing candidate Bernie Sanders by name, he added: “I would take a pretty careful look at the Labour Party if I was a Democrat.”

In his speech, Blair said: “I thought hard about taking stock on the Labour Party’s 120th anniversary – it’s not as if my advice is particularly welcome to today’s party.

“But then it occurred to me that there are only two people born in the last 120 years who have actually won an election for Labour. And alas Harold Wilson is long gone.

“Out of 120 years, Labour has been in power for just over 30 of them. That is a stark statistic.”

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey are the last three standing in the race to replace Corbyn.


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