Labour MPs turn on Tony Blair – Shock! Horror!

Jenny Chapman, a shadow Brexit minister, questioned the “interesting” timing of the speech and said it “won’t help” [Image: Martin Godwin for the Guardian].

He won’t have expected this.

Everything about his speech today suggests that Tony Blair thought he would have the easy ride he has enjoyed from the bulk of Labour MPs for the past 20 years and more. He completely miscalculated the situation.

Labour doesn’t have time for his frivolous campaign against Brexit.

The party is deeply involved in campaigning to retain seats that have been vacated – possibly vexatiously – by MPs who could happily fit the description “Blairite”. And Brexit features heavily in the doorstep discussions.

It is a time for healing divisions within the party’s support base – not for ripping them open still further.

Blair knows this; he is, after all, the leader who led the party to an unprecedented three successive general election victories.

So his intervention can only be viewed as an attempt to undermine the current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Knowing this, the Parliamentary Labour Party has little choice but to denounce him. Constituency members will be taking the names of those who don’t.

It is a serious mis-step for Blair, and could be a turning point for Labour – away from the Blair-inspired policies that have caused the party so much harm since 2010 and towards Corbyn’s future.

Tony Blair faces a backlash from Labour MPs for fuelling the party’s divisions over Brexit, as he launched a campaign to keep the UK in the EU ahead of two crucial byelections in leave-voting seats.

In a major intervention on Friday, the former prime minister accused a weakened Labour party of allowing Brexit to happen, and called for a cross-party political movement to persuade people that the costs of leaving will be painful.

The speech was viewed as highly unhelpful by Labour figures campaigning in a tight battle against Ukip and the Tories to retain seats in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland, where the party is trying to emphasise its support for triggering article 50 and respecting the result of the referendum. About 70% of referendum voters in Stoke, and about 60% of the electorate in Copeland wanted to leave the EU on 23 June.

Jenny Chapman, a shadow Brexit minister… questioned the “interesting” timing of the speech and said it “won’t help”. While stressing her respect for Blair, she said: “It would be a mistake [to argue to stay in the EU] and I don’t think that is where the majority of the country is whether they voted leave or remain … Especially outside of London I don’t think that’s going to cut much ice.”

Source: Labour MPs challenge Tony Blair over Brexit comments | Politics | The Guardian

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17 thoughts on “Labour MPs turn on Tony Blair – Shock! Horror!

  1. Roland Laycock

    The man is a liar and cheat and is trying to split the part, What I want to know is how he got my email address. He has no political position in the Labour Party apart from being a disgraced and reviled former PM.
    The b*****d is still lying and cheating and trying to wreck the party.

  2. Barry Davies

    Maybe he should be spending more time apologising for the deaths of the military he caused with a dodgy dossier instead of trying to take the nation for idiots.

  3. Zippi

    “So his intervention can only be viewed as an attempt to undermine the current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.” Everything that this man does, lately, seems to be an attempt to undermine Mr. Corbyn! As my mother said, yet again; when will he realise that he is dead and be happy in his grave? Wed don’t want him. He needs to shut up and go away. As for trying to keep the country in the E.U. what was the referendum about? What were those months of debates, documentaries, not to mention the money that was spent on the campaigns, all for, if we just ignore the result? What was the point?
    Mr. Blair, the electorate was asked and the majority said let’s go so, we’re going. You can come with us, or you can stay but we’re going. Whatever you choose to do, don’t tell us, we don’t want to know!

  4. Peter Hepworth

    How can Jenny Chapman speak with authority about the country’s position on Brexit? Is Labour really foolish enough to risk alienating the great majority of its members who oppose Brexit to improve its chances of winning a couple of by-elections?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Labour is working to heal the rifts that have opened up between the citizens of the UK over the EU referendum and Brexit.
      What are you trying to do? Make them worse, it seems.

      1. Peter Hepworth

        The idea that the rift can somehow be bridged is wishful thinking. The nation is split. How can pro-EU socialists such as myself accept an agenda set by the extreme right: UKIP, Dacre, Murdoch and co? How can we accept the view of the Bennite left that sees the EU solely as a capitalist club and ignores the big picture of cultural development, societal progress and international fellowship?The Supreme Court’s ruling opened the door for Parliament to reject May’s Article 50 bill and Labour failed to play its part in attempting to do so. My view is that Brexit is a national folly of grotesque proportions. The price of essentials will rise inexorably. The effects of the ageing demographic will be exacerbated by the curtailment of immigration, leading to reduced pensions and longer working lives.The Tories will use Brexit to scrap environmental, employment and consumer protection, and even if Scotland rejects independence the combined forces of Labour, the LibDems and the SNP will just as now be powerless to stop them. As we know, the post-industrial areas that voted overwhelmingly for Brexit will ironically be the hardest hit. All who oppose this depressing scenario have a duty to explain why and try to persuade the government to give the people a chance to think again.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Of course, Labour would not ask you to accept an agenda set by the hard right. But why do you consider your opinion of the EU to be more valid than that of the majority of people in the UK who expressed a preference? Please don’t rehash that old argument about those who didn’t vote – abstention is a perfectly valid form of expression. Let’s not forget that Parliament has not accepted the Article 50 Bill yet – but rejection would not have stopped it from happening in any case. Labour’s role was to uncover what Brexit will be, by exposing what it won’t. You seem to be living with an enormous number of misconceptions about what is going on.

      3. Peter Hepworth

        Whatever the calculations in the Wesrminster bubble, voting for the unamended bill has been seen by the public (and a majority of party members, I suggest) as feeble capitulation.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Nonsense. It has been interpreted as such by media commentators and people with an agenda, in an attempt to persuade the public that far more people feel that way than, in fact, do.

      5. Peter Hepworth

        Until we see some evidence we can only guess, but I for one would be much happier if it were Corbyn leading the fight for what’s ultimately left of the UK to remain in the EU rather than Blair and the LibDems. I think there is a more than even chance that opinion will swing against Brexit, if it hasn’t already done so (it doesn’t have far to go), and the people will be looking to Labour to join the coalition fighting their corner against this most autocratic of governments.

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        My point is that Corbyn cannot take such a divisive role. His job is to ensure the Labour Party represents EVERYBODY in the UK – not just the 30-or-so per cent who voted ‘Remain’. Maybe opinion will swing against Brexit. If so, then Labour’s pragmatic stance will prove to have been the right choice.

      7. Peter Hepworth

        Well, that takes us back to the 30% or so who voted Leave, but you could be right abour the pragmatism and I hope events prove you are.

  5. Martin

    I hate Tony Blair but if Jeremy Corbyn had one tenth of the man’s oratorical skill, passion, intelligence, energy and persuasiveness and showed it during the referendum campaign perhaps th UK wouldn’t be leaving the EU. Blair is a bad lot by, my God, he outstrips poor old Jezza in pretty much every respect when it comes to flair and ability. He eclipses Jezza utterly.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Lots operators eclipse Jeremy Corbyn. Many of them belong to the extreme right wing of politics. Would you want them in charge of social security? Social services? The NHS? Of course not.
      If you think oratory makes a good leader, think again.

      1. Martin

        What I would like to see is a plausible leader from the Labour party who is magnetic, energetic, intelligent, persuasive, competent, appealing and able to marshal a convincing argument in respect to his/her agenda.

        Jeremy Corbyn falls down as far as all of these things go.

        Even the normally loyal Owen Jones has said he would find it hard to vote for a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn. Jezza has abysmal ratings as far a leadership qualities are concerned across the board, even amongst regular Labour voters themselves.

        Jeremy Corbyn absolutely has no chance of leading Labour back into office – not one, single, solitary snowflakes chance in hell of doing so. If the stats are correct, unless there is a massive and sudden turn-around, Labour going into a general election under Corbyn will come out the other side with thirty or forty fewer MPs than it has now.

        What Blair said about Europe was right on the money for me.

        What Corbyn said about Europe, prior to the referendum, was as near to inaudible as may be and went almost unnoticed by all and sundry. When the Tories take Copeland what will you have to say then, Mike. Who will you seek to pin the donkey’s tail on then?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        All party leaders fall down as far as your criteria go.
        Your opinion remains your own, of course, based on whatever you choose to believe.
        But please don’t lie about what Mr Corbyn said about Europe. he ensured that 64% of Labour members and supporters voted Remain. The fact that you have lied about that casts doubt on your other words.

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