What Tony Blair really thinks of Ed Miliband: Six times the former Prime Minister has laid into current Labour leader

The former Prime Minister makes a helpful intervention today but it is a rare moment of support from Labour's most successful leader in the polls

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Indy Politics

Today Tony Blair lends Ed Miliband his support by making his first appearance of the election campaign to warn of the "chaos" a referendum on the European Union would create.

But it is pretty much the only topic the former Prime Minister and the current Labour leader agree on.

Whether appearing at odds with Mr Blair makes you popular or unpopular is a matter of debate, but we certainly have not been starved of the number of times he has decided to share his views on the current state of the Labour party.

Here are six times Mr Blair decided to criticise Mr Miliband:

1. Labour will fail to win the election (December 2014)

Mr Blair predicted Labour will not win the election because it had lurched too far to the left.

“I am still very much New Labour and Ed would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there,” Mr Blair said in an interview with the Economist. “I am convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground”.

He warned that Labour risked running a campaign “in which a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result.”

Tony Blair was much closer to Ed's brother David (PA)

2. Ed Miliband lacks leadership skills (December 2014)

The former Prime Minister made a thinly-disguised attack on Mr Miliband by suggesting the country’s current political leaders suffered from a lack of outside experience and leadership skills.

Writing in the New York Times, he said:

“At the very time when leadership is needed, the gene pool of political leaders has shrunk.

“How many leaders and, for that matter, followers in a parliament or congress have real-life experience in responsible positions outside of politics?

“Today it is very common for a young person interested in politics to graduate from university, go to work for a politician as a researcher or political analyst, and then transition straight into an elected position.’

3. Ed Miliband fails to connect with voters (October 2014)

Mr Blair again predicted Labour would not win the election, this time because it had failed to connect with voters.

This is what Mr Blair told a group of his closest allies, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph. “The Conservatives will be the next government because Labour has failed to make a good case for itself. That is what Tony thinks,” one of those present said. “He does not think that Miliband can beat Cameron.”

4. Opposition to Syria (September 2013)

He was very open with criticising Mr Miliband’s decision to block the Government’s intervention in Syria.

“I was disappointed by it. You know, this is something where I just have to disagree with the leadership of the party."

Tony Blair backed those like Nick Clegg and David Cameron over their support for intervention in Syria (Getty)

5. Ed Miliband lacks sufficient leadership skills (April 2013)

Mr Blair also had a pop at Mr Miliband’s leadership qualities in an article he wrote for the New Statesman:

“The guiding principle should be that we are the seekers after answers, not the repository for people’s anger. In the first case, we have to be dispassionate even when the issues arouse great passion. In the second case, we are simple fellow-travellers in sympathy; we are not leaders. And in these times, above all, people want leadership.”

Ed Miliband speaking in the House of Commons

6. Ed Miliband is wrong about centre ground shifting to the left (April 2013)

The paradox of the financial crisis is that, despite being widely held to have been caused by under-regulated markets, it has not brought a decisive shift to the left. But what might happen is that the left believes such a shift has occurred and behaves accordingly.”

But all these rather unhelpful interventions did not stop Mr Miliband from welcoming Labour's most successful leader this occasion however, Mr Miliband appears to be grateful of his former leader's intervention: