Tony Blair denies predicting that Ed Miliband will lose the next election

The former prime minister says he was misinterpreted

Jon Stone@joncstone
Wednesday 31 December 2014 11:37
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Former prime minister Tony Blair
Former prime minister Tony Blair

Tony Blair has claimed he has been “misinterpreted” after reports that he predicted a Conservative victory in next year’s election.

"My remarks have been misinterpreted, I fully support Ed [Miliband] and my party and expect a Labour victory in the election,” the former Labour prime minister said in a message posted on Twitter.

In an interview with The Economist Mr Blair had said he feared the result next May would 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 Conservative win, the New Labour founder replied: “Yes, that is what happens.”

“I am still very much New Labour and Ed would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there,” he told the publication.

“I am convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground”.

Mr Blair was elected leader of the Labour party in 1994 and became Prime Minister in 1997. He took Britain into the Iraq war in 2003 and stepped down in 2007.

The former prime minister has made a series of veiled interventions into Labour party internal politics since Ed Miliband was elected leader.

This summer he warned that Labour should stick to free market doctrine, arguing that the public had not “fallen back in love with the state”.

Last year he said he disagreed with Ed Miliband’s refusal to support military strikes on Syria, and in 2011 he warned against toppling Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, who he described as “immensely courageous and a force for good”.

Earlier this month Mr Blair is said to have told friends that he wanted shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna to be the next leader of the Labour party.

Since leaving office Mr Blair has worked advising the Kazakh, Egyptian and Azerbaijani dictatorships, as well as promoting peace in the Middle East.

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