Blair ‘reaching for cheque book’ to rescue Labour’s bank balance

Ed Miliband could be set to receive a funding boost from Tony Blair in the run-up to the next general election.

A source close to Britain's richest former prime minister confirmed he was in discussions about "various ways" he could continue to support the Labour party.

This could involve transferring substantially more of the wealth he has steadily accumulated since leaving Downing Street in 2007 to the Labour party's coffers, the New Statesman reported.

It suggested Blair, who is expected to enter the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time with an estimated net worth of £75 million, could make a substantial donation to Labour.

The Office of Tony Blair rejected the £75 million figure outright, pointing out Blair pays the salaries of 200 people in his organisations.

It revealed for the first time he has given away nearly £10 million to charities since leaving office since 2007, including £4 million to the Royal British Legion.

Financial figures for 2012/13 show Blair's business interests had accumulated at least £13 million.

A significant donation from Blair would be hugely welcome news for Ed Miliband, whose internal party reforms undermining the power of the trade unions is likely to come at a significant financial cost.

Blair has spoken out publicly in favour of the changes, praising Miliband's "real courage and leadership on this issue".

He even suggested the "long overdue reform" was one which "I should have done myself", adding: "It puts individual people in touch with the party and is a great way of showing how Labour can reconnect with the people of Britain."

But with the Unite union expected to announce it is going to cut its annual donations to Labour by as much as £1 million, the Labour party needs all the extra cash it can get.

The GMB union has also cut its funding of the Labour party by over £1 million.