Blair holding crisis talks with Starmer behind closed doors – ex-PM pulling Labour strings
Tony Blair calls for ‘vastly increased scale’ of vaccine rollout
The former Prime Minister has been vocal in his opinions on how the Government could improve its response to the pandemic. His charity, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, has refocused its effort since last March to consider how to respond to Covid.
As well as advising the Government on how to respond to the situation, the Labour Party has admitted the former Prime Minister is also briefing the Leader of the Opposition.
Sir Keir Starmer’s official spokesman said: “I’m not going to get into how often they talk, but yes they speak, like Keir speaks to all former leaders of the Labour Party.”
The official refused to provide any details as to how often the pair talk or when they last spoke.
Praising the role Mr Blair for his efforts since the start of the pandemic, he added: “Tony Blair has played a really important role in the last couple of months in terms of putting forwards proposals for how the Government can improve its testing system, and how it could roll out the vaccine.
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“Keir supports all former Prime Minister, all parts of the country who are helping in the national effort to get us through this pandemic.”
The ex-Labour leader was the first person to call on the Government to change its two jab vaccination programme and instead focus on giving as many people a single dose of the antidote as possible.
His global think tank also pushed for mass testing early into the pandemic last year, even using the word “moonshot” in the foreword of a report on the matter.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a mass testing plan of the same name in the autumn.
Mr Blair, who led to UK through the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, is thought to be hoping to use the pandemic as an opportunity to help rebuild his reputation, with his popularity having plummeted since leaving office in 2006.
More to follow…
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