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Inside politics

“Tony Blair is not done with Britain”

Blair after winning the election in 1997. Jeff Overs/BBC/Getty

Britain is “unusually rich in former prime ministers”, says Robert Shrimsley in the FT. Theresa May and Liz Truss are still MPs; David Cameron, “embarrassed by the Greensill saga”, keeps his head down; John Major and Gordon Brown remind us of a time when leaders were “serious people”; and Boris Johnson is, “well, Boris Johnson”. But one “stands above all” in his continued drive and ambition: “Tony Blair is not done with Britain.” His vehicle for influence is the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, his “ideas factory-cum-consultancy”.

Blair is said to be “extremely hands on” in the business, and even though Keir Starmer is the natural partner for his policies, close allies say the former PM would be “just as happy if Rishi Sunak ran with his ideas”. A recent paper on AI, co-written with his one-time opposite number William Hague, might as well have been intended directly “for the prime minister”. Above all, in today’s polarised political landscape, the TBI has become the “voice of the militant centre”, arming liberal leaders with “prescriptions for modernisation”. Friends say Blair is a man who “feels he did not get to complete his project” of transforming Britain, frustrated by his Iraq War legacy and failure to stop Brexit. The TBI is how he plans to revive the mission. For now, “Starmer is cautious”, while Blair is “impatient and bold”. But if the Labour leader isn’t entirely convinced, “that may change in power”. His shadow cabinet lacks experience – if Labour wins, the TBI will be their “go-to” for ideas.