News and Views
Miliband is too Left-wing to win election, says Blair in withering attack on Labour leader
- Former prime minster has predicted Ed Miliband will lose general election
- Issued most outspoken assessment of Labour leader to date in interview
- Indicated he believes Mr Miliband has deserted political centre and made Labour a ‘traditional Left-wing party’ leaving the Tories likely to win
- Labour’s lead in polls has evaporated – now neck-and-neck with the Tories
Tony Blair has issued his most withering assessment of Ed Miliband to date, suggesting he has turned Labour into a ‘traditional Left-wing party’ and predicting he will lose the general election.
The former prime minister indicated he thought Mr Miliband had deserted the political centre ground, leaving the Tories likely to win.
In a thinly veiled swipe at the Labour leader’s approach to business, Mr Blair said winning elections was about ‘not alienating large parts’ of the business community.
His comments are a particularly severe blow to Mr Miliband because they come less than five months before May’s election. They are the latest in a series of attacks by the former premier on the way he is leading the party.
Mr Blair, who led Labour to three election victories, was speaking in an interview with the respected Economist magazine. It described his comments as surprisingly ‘outspoken’.
In the interview, Mr Blair rejected the analysis made by senior Labour figures that the financial crisis means British voters want a more Left-wing government.
Mr Miliband has attacked predatory capitalism and spooked companies with his pledge to freeze energy bills.
Mr Blair said May’s poll could be an election ‘in which a traditional Left-wing party competes with a traditional Right-wing party, with the traditional result’.
Asked if he meant a Tory win, he said: ‘Yes, that’s what happens.’
He denied the political centre ground has shifted as a result of the financial crisis. ‘I see no evidence for that,’ he said. ‘You could argue that it has moved to the Right, not Left.’
Mr Blair said the 2010 poll was a ‘classic tax-and-spend election’ which the Tories won.
He added: ‘I am still very much New Labour and Ed would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there.’
He added: ‘I’m convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground.’
Asked what lessons he took from winning elections, Mr Blair highlighted ‘not alienating large parts of business, for one thing’.