Tony Blair’s ego might get him expelled from the Labour Party

Tony Blair
Fréa Lockley

On 26 February, former prime minister Tony Blair issued a scathing attack on the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. He also offered his full support to the newly formed Independent Group. But Blair’s words could come back to bite him. Because by endorsing non-Labour MPs, he’s potentially in breach of a key Labour rule. Now, thousands of people think there may be grounds to expel Blair from Labour.

“Embrace the spirit of insurgency”

As the Independent reported, Blair:

declared the Labour Party he once led is “in thrall” to left-wing populists… Blair… said its current state is now “truly mind-boggling”, bedevilled by antisemitism and characterised by its “savage denunciation” of anyone who speaks against it.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.




In contrast, he cited the breakaway group of ex-Labour MPs as part of a “fightback”, calling on other supporters of moderate politics to “embrace the spirit of insurgency”, adding “the struggle can be won”.

In response, many people feel that his support for the Independent Group’s “insurgency” could be grounds to expel Blair from the Labour Party.

Activist Liam Young has pushed for an investigation:

And many people have asked the same question:

Other parties

The Labour rule book states quite clearly that:

A member of the Party who joins and / or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member, subject to the provisions… of the disciplinary rules.

Nearly 20,000 people have since signed a petition calling for Jennie Formby, Labour’s general secretary, to expel Blair. The petition states that Blair’s comments “clearly” breach Labour membership rules.

The petition also asks Formby to take disciplinary action against Peter Mandelson, who “stated publicly that he ‘works every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn'”. 

These are the same rules that were used to expel thousands of Labour members who joined to back Corbyn’s leadership bid in 2015 and again when he was challenged in 2016. The often vague reasons given for punishing members included simply retweeting Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Jog on, Tony

Blair’s comments show arrogance on so many levels. For a start, he seems to think he’s immune to basic Labour rules.

But equally, has he still not ‘got it’ that Labour membership ‘surged‘ under Corbyn, in direct opposition to Blair’s New Labour? Because, let’s not forget, when asked about her greatest achievement, Margaret Thatcher replied: “Tony Blair and New Labour”. So, yes, when he moaned that the word “centrist” has become an insult, he’s spot on.

And more than this, people can’t and won’t ever forget that Blair also ‘led’ the UK’s invasion of Iraq. The war killed hundreds of thousands of people, and the Chilcot inquiry concluded it was unnecessary. Both the US and the UK knew it could lead to a rise in terrorism – as it did. This is the same man that many think should be prosecuted as a war criminal.

So, Tony, jog on…

Featured image via World Travel and Tourism Council/Flickr

Get involved

  • Add your support to the petition calling for Blair to be expelled.

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
    1. What would that achieve? How would it look to the voter on the fence? It would only play into the narrative that Labour has been hijacked by ideological extremists and allow the media to liken it to the Communist Party purges under Stalin. Do you think the Independent Group might have precisely this outcome planned??

      1. Hilarious how Blair continues to cause such a reaction from the hard left. If their programme had any prospect of success Blair would be footnote in history, an irrelevant distraction, a joke.

    2. The problem here is the jingoism language used by Blair such a” in the thrall of left wing” which many others appear addicted as if it were a candy. No issue is discussed with any sense of pragmatism or shows a respect for the facts. In fact just make the facts up to support your view.
      Its a vanity from using this language that it never has to anwer back.
      its so dangerously delusional., and socially divisive.
      Anyone living close to the bone cannot afford such talk. Its way too wild living beyond any common sense.
      What will become of us is the question I imagine these people are asking.

    3. Blair and Watson are, apparently, bullet-proof. But that’s partly due to the leadership’s cowardice in confronting them. It gives way on just about any issue but particularly Israel. Why does the leadership believe that ignoring Ms Hodge’s abusive behaviour, the rest of the abuse will stop? or consider Watson’s astonishingly insensitive remarks about the departure of a privileged and unpopular MP being the worst thing that has happened to the party in one hundred and twenty years.
      Iraq? That one word from Jeremy would have shown Watson up. But nothing. Except silence. And fear. My advice is, if you can’t protect yourselves, at least try to protect your comrades….and Iraqis and Palestinians.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.