Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has pledged his full support of Ed Miliband as Labour gears up for the May general election, as the party maintained a slim poll lead ahead of the Tories.
Blair, who led three consecutive election wins for Labour, is prepared to throw his support behind the party’s campaign, despite previous comments that fighting on a “traditional left-wing” platform was a recipe for defeat.
But Blair has now said that in terms of “his involvement in the party’s election campaign, he will do whatever the party wants,” his office told the Observer.
In December the former Prime Minister said he feared the election result would be one "in which a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wind party, with the traditional result," clarifying that this would mean a Conservative win.
In an interview with the Economist he called himself "still very much New Labour" and that "Ed would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there" he said. "I am convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground," he added.
Blair has since insisted that his comments had been misinterpreted.
The involvement of the former leader may help to calm nerves within the business sector, which has led a series of attacks against Miliband and his proposed policies, though it appears to have done nothing to dent his current popularity.
In the latest Observer poll Labour was leading with 34 per cent, a slim lead on the Tories’ 32 per cent, and one point up from a fortnight ago.
Prime Minister David Cameron showed a clear lead on Miliband in terms of satisfaction however, with the Conservative leader scoring minus five against the Labour leader’s minus 26.
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