Tony Blair warns against move to left and urges Labour to the "radical centre"

Ashley Kirk
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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair gives a speech to party members ahead of the General Election (Source: Getty)

Tony Blair has said Labour will lose the next election without a "fundamental revision" of its strategy.

In a move to intervene in the party's leadership race, the former Prime Minister has warned positioning itself to the left would be a bad decision.

Read more: This is how the Labour leadership race is stacking up

After David Miliband's criticism of his brother's leadership yesterday, in which he said Labour had "turned the page backwards", Blair followed suit, saying Ed Miliband's campaign "had a feel too much of an old-fashioned position".

In an interview with The Times , Blair said

The public always looks for a leader who is going to lead the country and can rise above their party. If you retreat into your comfort zone, you lose — that's the lesson of 100 years of our history.

I don't see any evidence that [the country] has shifted to the left [...] The Labour party has to have an alignment of strategy and tactics and that strategy has to be based on the centre ground – not splitting the difference between progressive and conservative positions but a radical centre in which you are able to take decisions for the future of the country.

Labour has not won a majority government without Blair in over 50 years. He warned against a move to the left in order to win back SNP voters in Scotland or Ukip voters in the north of England, saying the party had to be "really careful".

"The truth is", he said, "a strong Labour party occupying the centre ground operates a gravitational pull from both left and right."

Meanwhile, Blair's former director of communications, Alastair Campbell, said he would "happily lead the charge" against Labour's next leader if they were "not going to get close to winning an election".

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