Tony Blair says he has no interest in 'doing a Cameron' amid rumours

Sir Tony Blair says he has no interest in ‘doing a Cameron’ amid speculation Keir Starmer could make him a Lord and bring him back to Labour cabinet

  • Sir Tony Blair is ranked the fourth most popular foreign politician still: YouGov
  • But a spokesperson says he would not consider a return to frontline politics 

Sir Tony Blair has ruled out ‘doing a David Cameron’ and returning to the frontline of British politics as a peer amid speculation Keir Starmer could hand him a seat in the House of Lords should Labour win the next general election.

A spokesperson for the former Prime Minister told MailOnline this evening : ‘It’s not something he would consider. He is happy doing work with his Institute, which takes up the vast majority of his time, and informs the debate on the right policy solutions for the country.’

Since retiring from politics, Sir Tony has focused on his work with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a non-profit aimed at fighting religious and political extremism worldwide.

Fellow ex-PM David Cameron meanwhile made a shock return to politics as the new Foreign Secretary last month, displacing James Cleverly who has since taken over from Suella Braverman in the Home Office.

Lord Cameron remains a popular figure abroad, ranked the 10th most popular foreign politician according to YouGov – but is surpassed by Sir Tony in fourth place.

Sir Keir Starmer with former PM Tony Blair (right) in St James’ Palace, September 10, 2022

UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Cameron attends a NATO foreign ministers meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on November 28

Despite his relative popularity abroad, Tony Blair’s legacy in the UK is still marred by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Some 55 per cent of YouGov respondents said they disliked the former Prime Minister, while 33 per cent liked him and 27 per cent were neutral on the matter.

READ MORE: David Cameron’s return to government is welcomed by Beijing: State media lavishes the new foreign secretary with praise with glowing op-ed on his ‘highly-successful’ relationship with President Xi

The divisive tenure of Tony Blair, who held on to power from his landslide victory in 1997 until 2010, saw the former Prime Minister ranked both the best and worst leader of the Labour Party in a 2013 poll of British adults.

A more recent poll by Ipsos echoed the sentiment; 36 per cent of the British public said Sir Tony did a ‘good job’ in 2021 – placing him behind only Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher – as Prime Minister, but 36 per cent also said he did a bad job – behind Theresa May, David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

Blair remains popular among younger people, having pushed for swathes of society to go through higher education and develop marketable skills.

Critics argued it would lead to those with low academic ability undertaking unsuitable courses. 

Last year he issued a call for 70 per cent of young people to go to university, saying it was key for the UK to be able to compete with high-innovation economies. 

Blair also campaigned on tackling crime – and Britain did see a fall in the number of incidents from 16.7mn in 1997 to 10.7mn in 2008.

In 2004, then-Tory leader Michael Howard told the then-Prime Minister during PMQs that violent crime had risen by 64 per cent since 1998, however.

On his return to politics, David Cameron has already faced his fair share of challenges as Foreign Secretary. This week he has been involved in a diplomatic dispute with China over Beijing issuing of a bounty for the return of five who fled Hong Kong in 2020.

Simon Cheng, who worked for the UK government for two years in the British consulate, alleged he was tortured by China after the imposition of harsh security laws in 2020.

He fled along with Frances Hui, Joey Siu, Fok Ka-chi and Choi Ming-da after the sweeping national security law was brought in to quash dissent after massive pro-democracy protests.

David Cameron then called on British officials in Hong Kong, Beijing and London to ‘raise this issue as a matter of urgency’.

It was a marked departure from longstanding efforts by Lord Cameron to build bridges between China and Britain during his tenure as Prime Minister – heralded as a ‘golden age’ for Sino-Anglo relations.

Only on Tuesday, Lord Cameron was again pressed as he stood with the son of democracy campaigner and British citizen Jimmy Lai, 76, who faces trial in Hong Kong for his work as a peaceful pro-democracy supporter.

Mr Lai faces life in prison if convicted by the draconian Hong Kong Court under the National Security Law, brought in in 2020. 

Following the meeting with Lord Cameron, son Sebastien Lai said: ‘I understand why Lord Cameron was unable to make any immediate commitments, but I left the meeting feeling hopeful that the UK will shortly add its voice to calls for my Dad’s immediate and unconditional release.  

Tony Blair, is hugged by his wife Cherie outside No. 10 Downing Street in London, shortly after his election win, Friday May 2, 1997

Front row from left, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and former Prime Ministers Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major attend the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, Sunday, Nov. 12

In late November, bookies reported David Cameron still faced 12/1 odds to become the next Tory leader.

Nigel Farage’s odds were slashed from 40/1 to 20/1 following an appearance on I’m a Celebrity.

Kemi Badenoch was MegaDice’s favourite to lead after Rishi Sunak, with Suella Braverman trailing at 6/1 and Boris Johnson at 28/1.

The Sun on Sunday reported comments from the Tony Blair Institute this evening.

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