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Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair hinted that he wanted to make a political comeback in an interview released on Friday. Blair, 63, made the comments to Esquire magazine shortly after announcing he was winding down his controversial but lucrative government advisory business. But he remains deeply unpopular in Britain for his role in taking Britain into the 2003 Iraq war.
Blair told Esquire magazine that it was “an open question” what his future role would be. “I don’t know if there’s a role for me… There’s a limit to what I want to say about my own position at this moment,” he said. “All I can say is that this is where politics is at. Do I feel strongly about it? Yes, I do. Am I very motivated by that? Yes. Where do I go from here? What exactly do I do? That’s an open question.”
As leader of the Labour party, Blair won three consecutive general elections from 1997 onwards on a platform of centrist policies. The party has since shifted sharply to the left under veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, a strident opponent of the Iraq war and of Blair himself. Blair acknowledged there had been “a huge reaction” against his brand of politics but said that centrists must fight back.
“I think it’s too soon to say the centre has been defeated,” he said. “We’ve got to rise to that challenge”. Last year, Blair said he felt “more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe” after the Chilcot report found the invasion of Iraq was based on flawed evidence and badly executed.
Pollsters YouGov have found that Blair currently has a public perception rating of -63, with people they surveyed who disliked him describing him as “self-serving” and “money-grabbing”. Last month, Blair announced he was winding up Tony Blair Associates, his advisory business, which has worked with countries including oil-rich Kazakhstan and its autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev.