Tories and Nationalists will exploit Tony Blair's £106,000 'blood money' donation to Labour

Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly member says cash amounts to 'blood money'

Nigel Morris
Friday 06 March 2015 12:02 GMT
Regret: Tony Blair described himself as a 'naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop' for having pursued the change to the law
Regret: Tony Blair described himself as a 'naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop' for having pursued the change to the law (Getty Images)

The Conservatives and Nationalists are planning to exploit a £106,000 general election donation from Labour by Tony Blair, claiming the cash is tainted.

The former Prime Minister has handed £1,000 each to 106 candidates standing in the party’s target seats on 7 May. But opponents claim the gift could do Labour more harm than good because of resentment over Mr Blair leading Britain into the Iraq war and his business activities since leaving Downing Street.

Tory sources signalled that they expected some of their candidates to highlight the Blair gift in their own election literature.

Anna Soubry, the Defence minister, sent a message to her Labour opponent, Nick Palmer, in the marginal seat of Broxtowe, Notts, saying: "Blair money, yes or no?"

Mr Palmer, who received money, did not respond.

Stewart Hosie, the SNP deputy leader, told the Daily Mail: "The fact that Labour candidates are happy to accept donations from the man who led us into the illegal war in Iraq, introduced tuition fees and started the process of NHS privatisation is extraordinary.

"Tony Blair’s bad money will do Labour in Scotland no good."

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, the Plaid Cymru member of the Welsh Assembly for Carmarthen East, said the cash amounted to "blood money".

"The former Prime Minister since leaving office has amassed a multi-million pound fortune by doing the bidding of the global banks that created the longest lasting recession since records began with their rotten behaviour," he told the Mail.

"He has worked for multinational energy companies, who have rigged the energy market created by his Labour Government resulting in inflated energy costs for consumers, and global dictators guilty of human rights abuses."

In a letter this week to candidates in the battleground seats, Mr Blair said: "This is where the election will be won for Labour and that is why I am making a donation to all 106 campaigns.

"As one of our key seat candidates, you know better than most the scale of the challenge we face – but I have every confidence that with your drive, determination and organisational skills, you will deliver a successful local campaign that will also see our party returned to government.”

It is believed to be Mr Blair’s biggest donation to his party. He gave £6,000 in 2009 and 2012 and provided staff support worth £76,000 in 2010.

There have been tensions between Blairites and Ed Miliband after the Labour leader positioned himself as “not Blair” and argued it was time to move on from New Labour.

A Labour spokesman said: "We’re delighted Tony Blair has given so generously.“"

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