Blair to Miliband: Don't stray from the centre

Tony Blair says Miliband can win
Tony Blair says Miliband can win

By staff

Labour can only win the next general election if it "fights from the centre", according to Tony Blair.

The party's most successful leader's comments came after days of intensive speculation about Ed Miliband's future in charge, after a lacklustre performance in last week's prime minister's questions.

Mr Blair claimed the divide between himself and Gordon Brown at the heart of New Labour was one of boldness and timidity.

"I wanted to give to you full-on New Labour, take New Labour to the next level," he told the Sun newspaper.

"A lot of people like him [Mr Brown] and others thought, 'no, the thing to do is actually we have gone too far down that path, we need to pull back from it'. That is what the disagreement was about."

He added: "We have still got the same issue today."

Dubbed 'Red Ed' by the tabloids, Mr Miliband has deliberately masked his intentions as to whether he will take Labour away from the centre-left.

During the years of Blairite-Brownite division the current leader was a close ally of Mr Brown – alongside the man who is now shadow chancellor, Ed Balls.

Mr Blair made clear he believes the party faces the choice of being "at the cutting edge" or being "pinned in its ideological past".

"Ed Miliband has sensibly given himself the space to develop policy. The question is now what he puts into that space," he added.

The former prime minister, who won three general elections, said he believed Mr Miliband could only enter Downing Street if he decides not to adopt more left-wing policies.

"I am happy to give him my full support," he said.

"I always will do for the leader of the Labour party, and I think he should be given a chance to set out his agenda. But in my view Labour will win if it fights from the centre."


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