Tony Blair is rated the best recent leader of the Labour party – even though the ideas of New Labour are deeply unpopular
As the Labour Party conference draws to a close and the media focuses on whether Labour’s leader, Ed Miliband, has managed to recover his party from a recent barrage of criticism and poor poll ratings, a new poll reveals the best and worst Labour leaders of modern times as seen by the public.
Tony Blair, the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister, is rated as the best recent leader of the Labour Party by 27% of British adults in a poll for the Sunday Times.
John Smith, Tony Blair’s predecessor who died suddenly in 1994, comes second, as 21% say he was the best leader, and Harold Wilson, winner of four general elections, is in third with 14% of the vote. Interestingly, across all the main parties the verdict is the same: Blair, Smith and Wilson are first, second and third.
However, Tony Blair is also ranked as the second worst Labour leader, by 22% of the public; only outdone by Gordon Brown, the last Labour Prime Minister, of whom almost a third (31%) feel the same.
Blair is thus seen as both best and second worst - as controversial as ever and still dominating recent memory. His ideas of New Labour however have become deeply unpopular: in a recent poll for The Sun, 45% say ‘Labour should abandon the ideas of New Labour and distance itself from the last Labour government’, while only 19% say ‘Labour should continue with the ideas of New Labour and build upon the record of the last Labour government’.
At the Labour conference Ed Miliband announced that he would, if elected in 2015, freeze gas and electricity bills from every home and business for 20 months, would build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 and would extend free childcare for three and four year-olds from 15 to 25 hours a week.