Blair confronts Lib Dem threat

By staff

Former prime minister Tony Blair has warned voters not to back the Liberal Democrats for the wrong reasons.

The former Labour leader, who won three historic terms in government from 1997, made the comments as he returned to the campaign trail in the south-east of England yesterday.

“The fact that it might seem an interesting thing to do is not the right reason to put the keys of the country in their hands,” he told the Times newspaper.

After a speech in his old Sedgefield constituency at the beginning of the campaign Labour strategists had decided to keep Mr Blair under wraps.

But with the party slipping into third place in the polls he has now been deployed in a bid to shore up support. He called a hung parliament a “thoroughly bad idea” and said the Lib Dems’ tactics of blaming Labour and the Conservatives for everything wrong with the country as “the oldest politics in the book”.

Mr Blair’s message reinforced advice he gave to his party’s campaign yesterday.

“Labour will succeed best if the focus is on policy,” he said while appearing at a health clinic and getting his blood pressure tested. “That’s where we’re strong.”