Labour will be thrust into a political “wilderness” until 2030 unless it wins the next general election, former cabinet minister David Blunkett has warned.
Mr Blunkett, who stood down this morning, said that a win for a majority Conservative government would see Labour interests sidelined and stifled by Tory policies.
And he warned that failure to secure victory in 2015 would ruin everything he stood for over his illustrious 51 years with Labour.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Blunkett said he believed Ed Miliband would win the election and that he was the “only man” for the job.
"Ed Miliband will lead us to victory, I believe he can and I believe he will,” he said.
"He is the only man and he is the only man because he is our leader. Nobody is going to challenge him, he is in a unique position, actually because Tony Blair was bedevilled and in the latter days so was Gordon Brown. Ed is free of that.”
But he warned that defeat could spell disaster for the left-wing party.
"I think we would be in the wilderness for as much as 15 years because all the changes that the Conservative majority government would bring in would actually not be about fairness or equity or even sharing power, it would be about excluding the Labour party," he warned.
In the frank and open interview, Mr Blunkett urged listeners to consider the potential consequences of a Tory win in May 2015.
"We are talking about the future of the people we care about, we are talking about how we handle continuing levels of austerity and fairness, and whether the rich get richer and those at the very, very sharp end of austerity measures, the loss of public services gets worse," he said.
Mr Blunkett added: "Yes, we are talking about whether the vehicle for achieving everything that I stood for, and I have been in the Labour party for 51 years, would be made that much more difficult by victory in 2015 by the Conservatives.”
The former home secretary’s remarks come during a period of rising unease within the highest ranks of the Labour party.
Yesterday, frontbench MPs warned that Miliband would have to step down if Labour fail to secure victory.
Mr Blunkett, 67, twice resigned from Cabinet posts under Tony Blair. He told local politicians in his constituency that his decision to step down was “by far the most difficult political decision I have ever made, in a lifetime of extremely difficult decisions”.
Mr Blunkett, who is blind, was first elected as MP for Sheffield Brightside in 1987. He went on to serve as education secretary, home secretary and work and pensions secretary under Tony Blair.
His decision to step down leaves a vacancy in a safe Labour seat, which Mr Blunkett won with a 13,632 majority in 2010.