Tony Blair has given his “100% backing” to Ed Miliband and described the Conservative plans for an EU referendum a “huge distraction”.
In a speech at his former constituency of Sedgefield in County Durham, the former prime minister, said that Miliband was “his own man” and a leader he “respected” for putting the “interests of the country first”.
“I have always had a view that Ed can win and I hope and I am sure he will… I support him 100% to lead our party to victory at the next general election.”
A controversial figure after leading Britain into the Iraq War on false intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, Labour hope that he still retains enough “star power” to convince the electorate to get behind Ed Miliband.
Blair condemned David Cameron for putting an EU “exit on the agenda” and warned that the UK could be left behind as a “parochial bystander” if the country voted to leave the union.
Blair went on to say that the prospect of a referendum would create uncertainty in the financial markets, and claimed that Cameron’s promise was merely an election trick to regain the support of Tory voters that had moved to support UKIP.