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31 March 2010

Former premier steps up his campaign for a fourth term.

By James Macintyre

Tony Blair has a new website: The rather 1970s-looking, old-school site opens with this introduction:

In an increasingly interdependent world we need leadership with the drive, determination and understanding to face up to challenges of the 21st century. Gordon Brown and the Labour government have shown they have the right values and judgement to take Britain forward, building a future fair for all.

It leaves no doubt that the former prime minister wants his old rival Brown to win in May, and that the unlikely Labour tag team is back in action.

Yesterday, Blair outlined his case for Labour — and against David Cameron’s Tories. The media loved it, even if the politicians’ responses were more muted: Cameron was genuinely amusing when he said it was good to see Blair give a speech for which he wasn’t being paid (funny but unfair: Blair does actually make quite a few speeches for free, though you wouldn’t know it).

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Brown rather grudgingly said that he welcomed Blair’s return and then immediately changed the subject, warning of Tory cuts.

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Nonetheless, Blair is back for now, and however much he is loathed by Tories (and many on the left), they are acutely aware that he knows a thing or two about campaigning.