After expressing some doubts about Labour leader Ed Miliband in the past, Tony Blair, who led the party to three successive election victories from 1997, extended “100 per cent” support to Miliband on Tuesday. He also warned Britain against leaving the European Union.
Blair joined the election campaign in his former Sedgefield constituency, but rivals were quick to point out that Blair and Miliband did not share a stage.
Chancellor George Osborne said it showed that Blair was “advertising the fact that he thinks the Labour leader is weak.”
Mentioning India three times in his speech, focussed on the prospect of Britain leaving the EU, Blair said doing so “would leave Britain diminished in the world, do significant damage to our economy and, less obviously but just as important to our future, would go against the very qualities that mark us out still as a great global nation”.
Britain’s membership of the EU is one of the key issues before the May 7 elections, with Conservative leader David Cameron committed to holding a referendum on the issue in 2017, and the UK Independence Party gaining much ground for its demand that Britain quits the EU.
The Labour party has consistently refused to follow the anti-EU narrative, insisting that EU membership was beneficial to Britain in a globalised world and opposing the referendum.