Tony Blair warns that a Jeremy Corbyn victory could mean "annihilation" for Labour

Tony Blair has warned Labour not to "write a sequel" to the 1980s by electing Jeremy Corbyn.

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Tony Blair has pleaded with the Labour party not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in an impassioned article for the Guardian, warning the party a Corbyn leadership would mean “a rout, possibly annihilation” at the next election.

Blair, who despite being the only living Labour politician to win a general election, is disliked by many party members, writes: “it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the left, right or centre of the party, whether you used to support me or hate me. But please understand the danger we are in.”

The former Prime Minister argues, in words that will be seen as a coded signal to other big beasts who have kept silent, that Labour is “walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below”, saying, “this is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.”

He goes on to warn that, with partisan loyalty much lower than in the 1980s, Labour would suffer a defeat much greater than the one it incurred in 1983, writing “we’re witnessing now is a throwback to that time, but without the stabilisers in place”.

He concludes: “We know where this ends. We have been here before. But this sequel will be a lot scarier than the original. So write it if you want to. Go over the edge if you want. But think about those we most care about and how to help them before you do.”

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.