'Close link' between Sir Tony Blair and the new Labour government, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

'Close link' between Sir Tony Blair and the new Labour government, says Jacob Rees-Mogg
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 10/07/2024

- 06:24

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg has questioned whether Sir Keir Starmer can be an effective ‘heir to Blair’, arguing the former Prime Minister never really went away.

Speaking to GB News, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “Upon the Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer's election last week, he said this during his press conference just after his first Cabinet meeting:

‘The principle I operate to is those with skin in the game know what's best for their communities, and that does require us to be bold about pushing power and resource out of Whitehall. And therefore, when I return from the Four Nations, I shall hold a meeting of the metro mayors to discuss with them their part in delivering the growth that we need across the United Kingdom.’

“It was a seemingly innocuous remark, devolving more power away from Westminster towards the regions. But he has stuck to his word and met the 12 Metro mayors.

“Agree or disagree with this philosophy, there is no denying that it stems from a certain former Prime Minister; one Sir Tony Blair, the man who passed the Act of Devolution, whose Future Britain conference began today.

“The conference included speeches from a number of members of the Cabinet, including the chancellor Rachel Reeves and Health Secretary Wes Streeting.

“Perhaps this fact alone illustrates the closeness between Tony Blair and the new government.

“The first sign of what is to come under a Starmer government comes from the Tony Blair Institute's chief economist, Tom Smith, who has claimed Starmer will have to increase taxes by £50 billion by the end of this Parliament.

“Sir Tony also warned the Prime Minister that he must get a grip on immigration in an attempt to quell support for Conservative parties.

“He suggested the introduction of ID cards as a means of controlling the numbers, but this was quickly dismissed by the government spokesman.

“The former prime minister has been very outspoken in recent weeks, providing public advice to the newly elected PM. He recently took a firm position on the definition of a woman. He's also been emphasising the need for the UK to embrace artificial intelligence.

“Blair was an extremely effective leader: charismatic, popular at his height, he could practically walk on water. He radically transformed our constitution, whether it was devolution, Bank of England independence, paving the way for the establishment of the Supreme Court or the development of the quangocracy.

“The legacy of New Labour was never really undone by the Tories, which was perhaps our worst mistake.

“It set the country on an internationalist and corporatist path from which deviations proved very difficult over the last 13 years.

“We know Labour plans to reduce the voting age, empower the devolved authorities and grant more independence to the Quangos.

“But will Sir Keir fully fill the role of the heir to Blair? Time will tell.”


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