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Blair Says It May Be ‘Game Over’ for Anti-Western Labour Party

Blair and Corbyn
GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty
LIAM DEACON

Tony Blair has admitted many in the party think the “game’s over” for Labour, which may have permanently fallen into the grips of the hard left, describing current leader Jeremy Corbyn as anti-Western.

“I’ve been a member of the Labour Party for over 40 years,” the former Labour prime minister told a BBC podcast. “You do feel a strong loyalty and attachment, but at the same time it’s a different party.”

“The question is, can it be taken back?” he asked. “This is a different type of Labour Party. Can it be taken back? I don’t know.”

Mr Blair added: “There are lots of people associated with me who feel that the Labour Party’s lost, that the game’s over. I’m kind of hoping they’re not right.”

Brexit-supporting Labour MP Frank Field resigned the party whip last week, citing the rise of anti-Semitism in the party and allegations of bullying among hard left members.

Mr Blair also admitted Mr Corbyn was from a leftist tradition intrinsically opposed to Western foreign policy and interests.

The 65-year-old claimed those from Corbyn’s school of thought had formerly been “on the margins” of the party or in a different party, such as the Communists or “Trotskyist groups”.

Blair also hinted at the emergence of a new “progressive, modern” party that would split the liberal-left even further.

He said: “I don’t think the British people will tolerate a situation where, for example, the choice at the next election is Boris Johnson versus Jeremy Corbyn.

“I don’t know what will happen and I don’t know how it will happen. But I just don’t believe people will find that, in the country as a whole, an acceptable choice. Something will fill that vacuum.”

The former prime minister said the rise of anti-Semitism in the party is “ghastly” and a “matter of great sadness”.

“I can’t imagine that we have had three to four months debating over something where we have profoundly insulted the Jewish community in our country,” he said.

At elections this week to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s ruling body, nearly all of the positions went to hard left candidates, some accused of anti-Semitism and Islamist links.

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