1. ITV Report

New centrist party may be impossible, says Tony Blair

Tony Blair said the creation of a new political party could be impossible (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

The creation of a new centrist political party “may be impossible”, former prime minister Tony Blair has said.

Mr Blair, Labour leader between 1994 and 2007, wrote in The Times that the forthcoming party conference season will “expose in sharp relief the changing state” of his former party and the Conservatives.

Rumours of such a plot by Labour MPs unhappy with the party under Jeremy Corbyn have circulated during the summer Parliamentary recess, as the opposition faces divisions over Europe and the ongoing row over allegations of anti-Semitism.

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But Mr Blair wrote: “I am not advocating a new party, organising one, or wanting to vote for one.

“In the British system such an endeavour may be impossible.”

He continued his criticism of the current leader of the Labour party Mr Corbyn, saying “outcasts” have “poured in” with “their sectarian, shouty finger jabbing” since his election in 2016.

Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants to tackle the “social cancer” of anti-Semitism Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

He wrote: “Their foreign policy is motivated by visceral anti-western sentiment and their domestic policy is a rehash of old style leftism which shows little understanding of the modern world.”

With reference to allegations of anti-Semitism within the party, the 65-year-old wrote: “As so often in history, attitudes to the Jewish community are predictive of something larger.

“A world view has been laid bare and the nature of a large and growing part of today’s Labour Party unmasked. Neither correspond to the true Labour tradition.”

Earlier in the month, Mr Blair said that under Mr Corbyn’s stewardship the Labour party had become a “different party” and that he hoped it was not “lost”.

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It prompted Jon Lansman, founder of the Corbynite Momentum movement, to say on Twitter that Labour would “never” return to the former PM’s policies and he “was never in the right party”.

Mr Corbyn said Labour would tackle the “social cancer” of anti-Semitism.

His Rosh Hashanah message said: “I would like to reiterate that the Labour Party stands in solidarity with the Jewish community in the fight against anti-Semitism.

“We will work to eradicate the social cancer of anti-Semitism wherever is surfaces, including in our own party.

“We need change and I hope this year we can make this happen.”