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Tony Blair won’t endorse Jeremy Corbyn as next PM

Tony Blair, the most successful leader in the Labour Party’s history, has refused to endorse party leader Jeremy Corbyn for the June 8 election.

world Updated: Apr 27, 2017 23:26 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Tony Blair,Labour Party,Jeremy Corbyn
File photo of former British prime minister Tony Blair delivering a speech at a pro-Europe event in London in February 2017. (Reuters)

Tony Blair, the most successful leader in Labour history who led the party to three successive election wins, sees Theresa May returning as the prime minister after the June 8 election and refuses to endorse party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Blair, who has been hinting at a return to frontline politics, launched a “mission” in February to reverse last June’s referendum vote to leave the European Union. According to him, the vote was based on “imperfect knowledge” and he hascalled on people to “rise up” against Brexit.

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday about the forthcoming election prompted by Bexit, Blair refused to say if he thought Corbyn would be the best prime minister, and argued that people should vote Labour to make sure May has a strong opposition.

A known Corbyn critic, he said: “If the polls are right, we know who’s going to be prime minister on June 9. That’s not the issue. It’ll be Theresa May if the polls are right. I think the real issue is blank cheque. It’s what mandate does she claim, on Brexit and on the health service and all the other things.

“I think the most powerful argument for Labour in this election, because of the way the polls are and the way the opinion polls are and the to say it’s important for our democracy that the government is held to account and needs a strong opposition.”

A spokesman for Corbyn said: “On June 9, we will either have a Labour government or a Tory one. If you want Brexit to be used to turn Britain into a low-wage tax haven, vote Tory. If you want a Britain for the many, not the few after Brexit, vote Labour. The choice is clear.”

First Published: Apr 27, 2017 18:28 IST