Tony Blair has attacked Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party and questioned whether it can be “taken back” by moderates.
The former prime minister sparked anger among supporters of the current left-wing leader by saying that under his stewardship it had become a “different party” and he hopes it is not “lost”.
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”.
However, Lord Blunkett, a former home secretary and leading figure of the Blair era, warned that the party faced “irrelevance” unless there was a rethink of the “Corbyn project”.
Mr Blair told the BBC: “I’ve been a member of the Labour Party for over 40 years. You do feel a strong loyalty and attachment, but at the same time it’s a different party. The question is, can it be taken back? This is a different type of Labour Party. Can it be taken back? I don’t know.”
The former PM’s comments come after Labour activists in Enfield North passed a vote of no confidence in Joan Ryan, a minister in the Blair administration who now chairs Labour Friends of Israel.
Mr Corbyn was in Leicester on Friday to outline Labour’s plans for the water industry.
When told that Mr Blair sees him as an “existential threat” to the party he said: “I’ve been in the Labour party all my life. I am a socialist. I am determined to see a fairer and more equal society for everybody.
“That’s what the Labour party exists for.”
Asked on the visit to the Abbey Pump station whether he should heed the words of the three-time election winner, the current Labour leader said: “I simply say this to all Labour party members and all Labour party supporters – if you want to get rid of this Tory government, if you want to live in a society that is fairer, that is more equal, that is more just, then vote Labour and support Labour.”