Tony Blair yesterday said he would like another stint as prime minister, but accepts it is unlikely to happen.
Mr Blair said he did not want to leave office when he quit in 2007, but feared he would spark a “very bloody battle” inside Labour if he tried to resist pressure to go.
He praised current Labour leader Ed Miliband’s “sensible” decision to keep the party in the centre ground.
And he warned that it was wrong to believe that the fall-out from the financial crisis meant Labour should swing to the left and drop its links with business.
Mr Blair’s comments came as he steps up his involvement in domestic politics, after a lengthy period in which he has concentrated on his job as international Middle East envoy and his foundations for faith, sport and Africa.
He has made clear that he would like another big job in public service.
When he was asked whether he would accept another term as PM if it was offered, he replied: “Yes, sure, but it’s not likely to happen is it, so…”
Looking back to the day of his resignation, he said: “I didn’t want to go but I felt that I had to. The only choice would have been to have fought a very bloody battle internally which I thought would damage the country as well as the party.”
Mr Blair suggested that in some ways he is better equipped now to be PM than he was during his time in Downing Street.
“I have learned an immense amount in the past five years,” he said. “One of my regrets is that what I have learned in the last five years would have been so useful to me [as prime minister]. Because when you see how the world is developing you get a far clearer picture of some of the issues our country is grappling with.”
Mr Blair said that it was “inevitable” Labour would be defeated in the 2010 general election after it became clear that, under his successor Gordon Brown, it did not know whether or not it wanted to stick to the New Labour agenda he had mapped out.
He predicted that the Liberal Democrats will struggle at the next election, scheduled for 2015, and urged Mr Miliband to stick to the centre ground.
“My advice to the Labour Party is to sort ourselves out with a strong modern policy,” he said.