Tony Blair slams Jeremy Corbyn for taking Labour to 'an extreme, far left position'

The former Prime Minister urged for a return to centrism and practical policymaking

Published

Tony Blair has slammed Jeremy Corbyn for his leadership of the Labour Party, stating “We went to an extreme, far left position."

Sir Tony’s appeared on the “The Rest is Politics” podcast, hosted by his former Director of Communications and Strategy Alistair Campbell and former Tory cabinet minister Rory Stewart.

His attacks on Mr Corbyn were part of a wider view he expressed where he argued politics had become too extreme and polarised to produce useful policy ideas.

The former Prime Minister helmed a significant transition into more moderate left-wing politics for the party in the transformation of Labour into New Labour during the 1990s.

As such, he continued to emphasise the importance of a move away from left-wing radicalism, stating: "I don’t think it was ever credible that Jeremy Corbyn could be put forward as candidate to be Prime Minister."

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives for the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives for the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

He declared British politics has "gone to the fringes", and the Labour Party went through a ‘very difficult period’, caused mainly by the fact that "Jeremy Corbyn took over the Labour Party".

He went on to say, “and when you do something like that you can’t just kind of say, oh well, that didn’t work out so well.”

Supporting a move to a more centrist position, the former Prime Minister asserted: “I support strongly what Keir Starmer is trying to do with the Labour Party today."

Sir Tony offered further advice, arguing: “The next step of change in the Labour party is getting a policy agenda.”

The comments come two weeks after Keir Starmer read out an alleged comment from Tory backbenchers during PMQs, which dubbed the PM ‘conservative Corbyn’.

Jeremy Corbyn at a protest against the extradition of Julian Assange
Jeremy Corbyn at a protest against the extradition of Julian Assange

A rejection of Mr Corbyn’s radical left-wing politics is also evident in Sir Keir’s rejection of the 2017 manifesto created by the Islington North MP.

Yesterday, while speaking at an led by the New Statesman magazine, Sir Keir stated that “What we’ve done with the last manifesto is put it to one side.

“We’re starting from scratch. The slate is wiped clean”.

Key provisions of Mr Corbyn’s manifesto included renationalisation of the water industry and railways, abolition of tuition fees, and a pledge to build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year.

During his tenure, Mr Blair introduced key legislation such as the 1998 Human Rights Act, the 2005 Civil Partnership Act, and the Good Friday Agreement.

He also led the country into conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, joining a U.S.-led coalition.