Introduction — May 1, 2017
Tony Blair’s announcement that he was ready to return to frontline politics hasn’t been entirely welcomed.
In the Sunday Mirror his former deputy, Lord Prescott questioned whether Blair’s comments over Jeremy Corbyn were compatible with the terms of Labour party membership.
‘When Tony was leader, we expelled people for advocating voting for other parties. I can’t see what he is doing is any different,’ he said.
The former deputy prime minister compared Tony Blair to a ‘faded striker shouting from the sidelines’.
Meanwhile in an effort to improve his public image, Tony Blair has tried play down the extent of his wealth. Telling reporters that estimates of his worth were exaggerated and that he was worth “less than £20 million”.
“I have given away more than I’m worth”, Blair was quoted by the Mail as saying.
However, pleas of poverty will do little to dispel the residual anger over Blair’s legacy. In particular his decision to commit Britain to military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Tony Blair is well past his prime in terms of popular appeal. Such is the bitterness over him that his calls for Britain to remain in the European Union may even add to the impetus to leave. Ed.
Tony Blair RETURNS to politics after a decade in a last-ditch bid to interfere with Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations
Gareth Davies — Mail Online April 30, 2017
Tony Blair has pledged to re-enter politics, even if he gets a ‘bucket of wotsit’ thrown over him, and insists derailing Brexit is not ‘defying the will of the people’.
The former prime minister said he would not return to Parliament but Brexit had persuaded him to rejoin the political scene, although he admitted he finds it hard to be hated by some people.
He has called on Labour voters to consider backing pro-EU Tories and Liberal Democrats and insisted Brexit was ‘bigger than party allegiance’ and even suggested voters look at who is their most pro-EU candidate locally – even if they are Tories.
Last night he told the Daily Mirror: ‘You need to get your hands dirty and I will. This is not about defying the will of the people. It is saying the will of the people may change when they see the final deal.’
He added: ‘My prediction is it may take another generation but at some point we will want to be back in the EU’.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror to mark the 20th anniversary of his 1997 election victory, Mr Blair added: ‘This Brexit thing has given me a direct motivation to get more involved in the politics.
‘We don’t know yet what the final deal on Brexit will be. We are advocating a very simple British common sense position, which is to say: ‘Let’s see what the Tories come up with first’. Because there is a bit of the Tory Party determined to deliver Brexit no matter what the cost.
‘The single market put us in the Champions League of trading agreements. A free trade agreement is like League One. We are relegating ourselves.’
He added: ‘I am going to be taking an active part in trying to shape the policy debate and that means getting out into the country and reconnecting.
‘I know the moment I stick my head out the door I’ll get a bucket of wotsit poured all over me, but I really do feel passionate about this. I don’t want to be in the situation where we pass through this moment of history and I hadn’t said anything because that would mean I didn’t care about this country. I do.’