The former Prime Minister has issued a stark warning at his former party, saying it needs to change direction if it wants to be able to counter Mr Johnson’s “right-wing populism”. Theresa May has announced she will stand down as a leader once she had delivered Brexit, sparking a leadership race which sees the former Foreign Secretary as one of the favourites to replace her. Mr Johnson’s rise to power will have to trigger a major change within Labour if it wants to win back voters, Mr Blair said.
The former Labour leader explained the left-wing party should offer Britons a “sensible coherent alternative” rather than a “revolutionary” one to Mr Johnson’s vision of the Tories.
This move would attract the support of those Conservative voters who are “repelled” by Brexit or the role Mr Johnson has had in the Leave campaign and ever since the EU Referendum in 2016, Mr Blair added.
Mr Blair Huffington Post UK: “If you have a Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party, he’s a formidable campaigner, he’s an interesting personality, he can get out there and do his stuff, for sure.
“I have absolutely no doubt that if you have a right-wing populism against a left-wing populism in this country, the right-wing will win.
“So it depends where Labour stand.
“If we stand in a reasonable position, where you have many Conservative voters that will feel repelled by a Boris Johnson premiership, particularly after the part he’s played in Brexit, but you’ve got to be in a position where those people feel it’s safe to vote for you.”
It is highly unlikely a former supporter of the Conservative Party will suddenly decide to back Labour if it promotes socialist policies, Mr Blair continued.
He said: “You suddenly offer them a revolutionary alternative from the left, what makes you think the people who voted Tory are suddenly going to go for that? It’s a bizarre analysis of their psyche.”
Mrs May first said she won’t lead the Conservative Party into the next general election in December, after delaying the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal for the first time.
Ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, she said: “I’ve said that in my heart I would love to be able to lead the Conservative Party into the next general election but I think it is right that the party feels that they would prefer to go into that election with another leader.”
After her withdrawal agreement was overwhelmingly defeated twice in Parliament, Mrs May last week offered her resignation in exchange for the support of her party.
But on March 29, the day Britain was originally meant to leave the EU, her deal was once again rejected by a majority of 58 votes.
Mr Johnson, who has opposed the Prime Minister’s deal since it was first introduced to Parliament, voted in favour of it during the third meaningful vote.
Among the Tories lining up to replace Mrs May there are also Esther McVey, the former Work and Pensions Secretary and Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the powerful backbench chair of the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG), ruled out running as a candidate in the leadership contest, and over the weekend has indicated he will back Mr Johnson.
He told ITV News: “I have a very high opinion of Boris Johnson… but the competition hasn’t yet started, so it’s sensible to wait until it does.”