Blair urges Starmer to introduce ID cards and ‘avoid vulnerability on wokeism’

Sir Tony Blair has urged Sir Keir Starmer to introduce digital identity cards and “avoid any vulnerability on wokeism”.

In an early intervention little more than 24 hours after the Prime Minister entered Downing Street, his predecessor has publicly offered advice on how to approach his time in office.

Sir Tony, whose attempt to roll out ID cards while in power was killed off by the following coalition government, called for a new digital system to help with border control.

Newly elected Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria outside No 10 Downing Street
Sir Keir Starmer was appointed Prime Minister on Friday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Writing in the Sunday Times, he said: “The only game-changer is the full embrace of the potential of technology.”

He added: “We need a plan to control immigration. If we don’t have rules, we get prejudices.

“In office, I believed the best solution was a system of identity, so that we know precisely who has a right to be here.

“With, again, technology, we should move as the world is moving to digital ID. If not, new border controls will have to be highly effective.”

The New Labour leader congratulated Sir Keir for “the most remarkable turnaround in recent British electoral history” after the party won a historic victory at the polls on Thursday.

But he also warned that underneath the sweeping electoral gains, there were clear signs that many voters had been seeking to punish the Tories at the ballot box rather than reward Labour.

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer speaks during a press conference after his first Cabinet meeting
Sir Keir and his team have started the work of Government (Claudia Greco/PA)

While Reform UK made inroads into the Conservative base, “it poses a challenge for Labour, too,” the former prime minister said.

Sir Tony suggested that “cultural issues” are at the heart of the challenge.

And he added: “The Government should avoid any vulnerability on ‘wokeism’.

“There is also clearly a challenge in part of the Muslim community, but that is a topic requiring its own special analysis.”

Parallels have often been drawn between Sir Keir’s stewardship of Labour and Sir Tony’s as the Prime Minister moved to claim the political centre ground following the Jeremy Corbyn era.

Sir Keir promoted of a clutch of Blairites in last year’s shadow cabinet and has said he spoke “a lot” to his predecessor before the election to draw on his experience of preparing for power in 1997.

Setting the tone for his Government in his 24 hours in Downing Street, the Prime Minister promised to lead with “stability” and “moderation”.

Sir Tony and Cherie Blair embrace in front of No 10 Downing Street after the Labour Leader was elected Prime Minister
Sir Tony and Cherie Blair embrace in front of No 10 Downing Street after the Labour Leader was elected Prime Minister 27 years ago (Fiona Hanson/PA)

The Prime Minister said he wanted to “govern for the whole of the country” and “turn our back on tribal politics and simply picking issues we want to fight just for the party politics of it”.

“That’s what’s gone wrong, in my view, in the last few years,” he said.

As part of a packed itinerary in his first week in office, Sir Keir will embark on a tour of the four nations on Sunday, meeting representatives.

He will then return to England for a meeting with metro mayors before heading to Washington DC for the Nato summit on Tuesday.