Blair memoir warns against move to Left

 
Marion Dakers
TONY Blair has blamed Gordon Brown for Labour’s loss in the last election, claiming in his long-awaited autobiography that the party veered too far to the left.

His memoir, A Journey, which hits the shelves today, also reveals the former Prime Minister’s thoughts on why Labour lost the election in May, the much-criticised Iraq war and his relationship with Gordon Brown.

Marketed as a deeply personal account which took him three years to write, the book starts with the words: “I begin as one type of leader; I end as another. That’s why I call it a journey.”

In the book he claims Gordon Brown could have won the recent election if he had kept up the principles and policies of New Labour.

And of his decision to involve Britain in the Iraq war, he said: “Do they suppose I don’t regret with every fibre the loss of those who died?”

He described Gordon Brown as maddening, but shrugged off the “relentless personal pressure”?from the then-chancellor and his allies as “far less troubl[ing] than they or perhaps even he ever realised”.

Blair said he came to the conclusion that “having [Brown] inside and constrained was better than outside and let loose or, worse, becoming the figurehead of a far more damaging force well to the left”.

Online retailer Amazon said pre-orders are 36 per cent up on Peter Mandelson’s The Third Man, which is currently the website’s most successful political autobiography.

Blair has eschewed the traditional bookselling tactics of a promotional tour and advance copies for reviewers, and will donate the proceeds from the tome to the Royal British Legion.

He is scheduled to be in Washington today, to attend peace talks in his role as Middle East envoy, but has pre-recorded a television interview with Andrew Marr, which will be shown on BBC2 tonight.