In Brief

Tony Blair warns Labour it faces electoral oblivion

Former leader intervenes after MPs criticise Corbyn at angry meeting

Tony Blair is to tell Labour that it will be “replaced” as a serious political force if it attempts to “whitewash” its recent election defeat.

The former prime minister will say in a speech that the party faces electoral oblivion unless it changes course. He is also expected to unveil research suggesting Labour's problems go “far deeper” than its position on Brexit and the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn.

Blair will say: “Labour needs not just a different driver, but a different bus.

“This election was no ordinary defeat for Labour. It marks a moment in history. The choice for Labour is to renew itself as the serious, progressive, non-Conservative competitor for power in British politics – or retreat from such an ambition, in which case over time it will be replaced.”

This is far from the first time that the former leader has criticised the current one. Last year, Blair spoke of his concerns that “moderates” may never be able to take back control of Labour, following the “profound change” in the party under Corbyn’s leadership.

Blair’s latest intervention comes after Corbyn faced the fury of some Labour MPs at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party in Westminster.

The outgoing leader told the meeting: “I am very sorry for the result, for which I take responsibility. I will continue to lead the party until a new leader is elected. I want us to have the smoothest possible transition.”

However, this was not enough to calm the anger of some MPs during meeting, which was described as “fiery” by the Daily Mail. Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, read out the list of seats lost in the north-east and said they had not been given enough support. 

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves described Corbyn’s manifesto as “economically illiterate” and said the party needed radical change and a leader that “actually wants to win”.

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