Jeremy Corbyn refuses to process Tony Blair’s ‘blank cheque’
The Labour leader would rather reheat an old Ed Miliband slogan.
Tony Blair has said that Theresa May will win the general election – and repeated his advice that Labour’s best defence is urging voters not to give the prime minister a ‘blank cheque’.
But Jeremy Corbyn is showing no interest taking the former prime minister’s campaigning tips.
In an interview with Sky News’ Adam Boulton, Blair refused to endorse the Labour leader.
Asked if he could put his hand on his heart and say that Corbyn was the best person to run the country, Blair replied: "If the polls are right, we know who is going to be prime minister on June 9. That’s not the issue. It’ll be Theresa May. If the polls are right."
The three-time general election winner then issued advice on how Labour could limit the damage in June.
He said: "I think the real issue is blank cheque. It's what mandate does she claim, on Brexit and on the health service and all the other things.
"I think the most powerful argument for Labour in this election - because of the way the polls are, and the way the opinion polls are and the leadership issue - the most powerful argument for Labour is to say it's important for our democracy that the Government is held to account and needs a strong opposition."
Commentators including The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee have agreed that the ‘blank cheque’ could be Labour’s best hope of averting an electoral disaster.
Toynbee wrote in yesterday’s paper: "That could rally some weak Labour Brexiters, and encourage remainer Tories to hesitate before gifting their vote to extreme hard Brexiteers. Will remainers cross tribal party boundaries to stop a hard Brexit?"
Labour MP Chuka Umunna has also made it clear that he thinks the ‘blank cheque’ could work as an election message for Labour.
But on the campaign trail in Harlow today, Corbyn preferred to stick with an old Ed Miliband line that he roadtested yesterday in Prime Minister’s Questions.
Repeating the line he used at PMQs about the Tories, Corbyn declared: "They are strong against the weak, and weak against the strong."
However in a nod to Blair, Corbyn did also state once again that Labour is "for the many, not just for the few".
Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images.