Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed he flirted with Marxism as a young man, and that reading a biography of Leon Trotsky was "like a light going on".
Much of Blair's political success has been attributed to his re-positioning Labour as a centrist party, but in an interview with the BBC aired this morning, he said he was "briefly a Trot". He added that his alignment with the far left only lasted for about a year.
"Here's this guy Trotsky who was so inspired by all of this that he went out to create a Russian revolution and changed the world," Blair said. "I think it's a very odd thing - just literally it was like a light going on."
"And even though, you know, over time I left that side of politics behind, the notion of having a cause and a purpose and one bigger than yourself or your own ambition - and I think probably allied at the same time to coming to religious faith - that changed my life in that period."
In a wide-ranging interview, Blair also defended his decision to go to war with Iraq and his relationship with US President George W Bush, saying that a good relationship with America was important for national security.
The former Prime Minister admitted mistakes were made in Iraq, especially with regards to the plans for withdrawing from the country. However, he said he still felt the invasion was the right thing to do.
"The thing that is, I think, difficult for people to accept is that I haven't changed my view that it was better we removed him [Saddam Hussein] than not," he said.