Tony Blair faced a Labour backlash, but won the backing of a senior party figure, after he appeared to cast doubt on Ed Miliband’s chances of winning the 2015 general election.
The former Prime Minister attempted to damp down the furore provoked by comments in which he suggested a party fighting on a “traditional left-wing” platform would be defeated by the Tories.
Insisting his words had been “misinterpreted”, he said he supported Mr Miliband and expected him to win the election in May.
Lucy Powell, the vice chair of Labour’s election campaign, said Mr Blair’s time in office was “not the era we now live in” and the veteran MP David Winnick urged him to observe a “period of silence”.
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, accused Mr Blair of “having lost touch with ordinary people”.
But the former minister David Lammy said Mr Blair’s concerns should not be ignored and the party needed to build “the broadest coalition”.
He said: “I don’t think anyone should underestimate a leader of the Labour Party that won three consecutive elections and fought hard to make Labour electable again after 18 years in opposition.”
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