Tony Blair urges Labour to 'reclaim political centre ground'

Tony Blair has urged the Labour party to reclaim the political centre ground. Credit: Owen Humphreys / PA Wire/PA Images

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged the Labour party to reclaim the political centre ground as it attempts to recover from its crushing general election defeat.

Writing in the Observer newspaper, Mr Blair said the party had to show that it stood for "ambition and aspiration" as well as compassion and care.

He insists that a change of direction is needed if the party is to stand a chance of regaining power.

John Prescott said the Labour party needed to defend its economic record. Credit: John Giles / PA Archive/PA Images

Meanwhile Mr Blair's former deputy, John Prescott, unleashed a blistering attack on the Labour campaign, pouring scorn on Mr Miliband's "Hell yes, I'm tough" claim and accusing him of failing to defend the previous Labour government's record on the economy.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Lord Prescott said it had been a "bloody disastrous" result for the party.

"We fought a presidential-type election based on computers, charts, focus groups and even the American language - Hell yes? Hell no!" he wrote in the Sunday Mirror

However he said the real roots of their defeat lay in the failure by Mr Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls to confront effectively Conservative claims that the previous Labour government had "wrecked" the economy.

He writes: "I warned them if we didn't defend the past we wouldn't have a future. This general election has depressingly proved that."