Labor leadership candidates must “renew” the party so it becomes a serious competitor for power, Tony Blair is due to warn.
The former prime minister who governed from until will urge those trying to take the reigns from Jeremy Corbyn not to ” whitewash “last week’s result that saw Labor’s worst performance since 2000.
He is expected to call on them not to “pretend it is something other than it is, or the consequence of something other than the obvious” as the battle for the party’s future takes off.
No formal leadership contest has been launched yet, but shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer admitted he was “seriously considering” running and the Guardian reports shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey is lining up a shot at the top job.
Mr Corbyn has vowed to stand down as leader when his successor is announced in the “early part of next year”, with the timetable and process of the election yet to be announced.
In a bid to ensure the party does not pick a leader that would take it into its fifth electoral defeat, Mr Blair will give a speech to launch his institute’s report analyzing last Thursday night’s vote.
It is called “northern discomfort”, after the so-called “red wall” of seats in northern England that have either long or always elected a Labor MP crumbled and some elected a Conservative.
Mr Blair is expected to say: “This election was no ordinary defeat for Labor. It marks a moment in history.
” The choice for Labor 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. “
He will add: “So, at one level, sure let’s have a period of ‘reflection’.
” But any attempt to whitewash this defeat, pretend it is something other than it is, or the consequence of something other than the obvious, will cause irreparable damage to our relationship with the electorate. “
There is bitter in-fighting in labor over how the election to replace Mr Corbyn should proceed, with some pushing back against a short timetable to try and let members who quit over his leadership re-join to be able to vote.
Sir Keir on Tuesday told the Guardian branded Labour’s performance at the election “devastating” but warned “it’s important not to oversteer”.
“The case for a bold and radical labor government is as strong now as it was last Thursday. We need to anchor ourselves in that, “he said.
” I want trust to be restored in the Labor party as a progressive force for good: and that means we have to win. But there’s no victory without values. “
Meanwhile the same newspaper reported on Monday that Ms Long-Bailey was trying to broker a pact with shadow education secretary Angela Rayner for the pair to run as leader and deputy, respectively.
It Comes after Mr Corbyn faced MPs for the first time since the election, with backbenchers saying the meeting was “raw” and full of “fury”, “despair” and “collective depression”.