Blair warns Labour not to turn into protest party

The former prime minister has warned Ed Miliband not to fight the old left battles. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Archive

Tony Blair has sent out a warning to Ed Miliband that he risks reducing Labour to a party of protest by fierce resistance to austerity and welfare cuts.

Writing for the New Statesman, Mr Blair said politics has not shifted towards the left, despite the credit crunch, and warned: "No-one can get permission to govern unless they deal with its reality."

Labour must "seek answers" rather than defend the status quo, he said, adding that any attempt to return British politics to a left-right contest "debilitates rather than advances the nation".

Mr Blair also flatly rejected the argument that New Labour "created" the financial crisis, insisting the structural deficit had been below 1% in 2007-8.