Revealed: Tony Blair’s role advising Keir Starmer by text as he moves into government

Keir Starmer has revealed that he regularly receives texts from former prime minister Tony Blair with advice on what he needs to do.

The Labour leader revealed the detail while talking to The Independent’s John Rentoul at his election count in north London just hours before he was confirmed as Britain’s prime minister.

Sir Keir said the advice was “very helpful” and centred around the difficult transition from years of opposition to government, something Blair had to deal with in 1997.

When Sir Tony took power in a landslide victory against John Major’s Tories, Labour had been out of power for 17 years.

Starmer is getting advice from Blair (Getty)
Starmer is getting advice from Blair (Getty)

Like then, there were very few Labour MPs who had served as ministers or even been parliamentarians during a Labour government.

Sir Tony, like Sir Keir, had a family with children at school to move into Downing Street and see their lives turned upside down overnight.

Sir Keir had already revealed in an interview with The Independent that he and his wife Victoria had decided against getting their children to get advice on life in Downing Street from Sir Tony’s children for fear it would reinforce negative concerns.

It is noticeable, though, that Sir Keir’s first appointment to his cabinet was Angela Rayner as deputy prime minister and levelling up and communities secretary. She is playing exactly the same roles as Lord John Prescott did for Blair in 1997 with the same title and department but also the symbolic role of appealing to the traditional Labour membership.

But the revelation about the texts will confirm the views of some that Sir Tony is a major fluence behind the scenes of this first Labour government in 14 years.

As part of the “change” Starmer brought to Labour in rebuilding after the Jeremy Corbyn years he surrounded himself with leading figures from the Blair era.

Pat McDonnell, now Duchy of Lancaster running the engine of government in the Cabinet Office, was a Blair minister and became Starmer’s head of campaigning. Lord Mandelson also provided advice to the Labour leader in the run-up to seizing power again.

Sir Tony’s place as an influential father figure for the latest generation of centre-left world leaders was underlined when he joined Sir Keir and others at a gathering in Montreal organised by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.