Former British prime minister Tony Blair is reportedly positioning himself to return to politics because he thinks Theresa May, the current incumbent of 10 Downing Street, is a “lightweight,” the Conservative government is “screwing up Brexit” and the Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is “a nutter.”
A source told The Sunday Times that Blair has been looking for a property near parliament in which to create an institute to transfer 130 staffers who currently work for his consultancy company, Tony Blair Associations.
He believes there is “a massive hole in British politics that he can fill,” the source reportedly said.
The former PM called in October for a second Brexit referendum when the implications of withdrawing from the European Union become clearer.
Advocates of remaining in the EU, like him, were “the insurgents now,” he said. “We have to build the capacity to mobilize and to organize. We have to prise apart the alliance which gave us Brexit.”
The conservative Daily Mail reported that Blair had hired a former Labour MP to advise him on the best way to merge his existing business and charity interests and strengthen the political clout of his new anti-Brexit organization.
It quoted a Blair spokesman as saying he “has already announced that he is bringing all staff under one roof. So yes, the London staff will all come together in one location.”
Blair, who served as prime minister from 1997 to 2007, took the Labour Party away from its socialist roots and launched it on a more centrist, “third-way” approach to politics.
So-called Blairite lawmakers still in parliament are fighting current Labour leader Corbyn for his attempts to take Labour leftward again.
Blair left a trail of controversy for having moved, alongside then US president George Bush, to send troops to invade Iraq in 2003.
A 2016 public inquiry said the invasion of Iraq was unjustified and unnecessary and criticized Blair’s actions.
Since leaving Downing Street, Blair has been focusing on international charity work and diplomacy. Between 2007 and May 2015, he served as special envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, a multinational group that has tried to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The pro-Conservative Daily Telegraph welcomed news of Blair’s reported return to politics, saying public anger against him would strengthen the Brexit movement, which the paper supports.
“This is glorious news,” the paper quoted former environment secretary Owen Paterson as saying. “He is one of those discredited establishment figures who repels many people. For this he must win the international prize for lack of self awareness this year.”