London, May 30 (IANS) Former British prime minister Tony Blair was reluctant to take over as leader of the Labour party and said he did not want to fight Gordon Brown.
‘I really don’t want to fight Gordon,’ Blair told Alastair Campbell, director of communications and strategy for the Blair regime.
Blair felt his leadership would be ‘too big a psychological step’ for the party after the death of its leader John Smith.
‘GB (Brown) has worked for this moment all his life and is not going to step aside easily. I only want to do what is right,’ Blair told Campbell in May 1994, Daily Mail reported.
‘I really don’t want to fight Gordon. I don’t think that would do anyone any good,’ Blair said.
Blair later told Campbell to brief the media and say that, because of Brown’s youth, there was a good chance he ‘would get the leadership at a later date’.
The conversations between the two top British leaders have been disclosed in a series of extracts from the first unabridged volume of Campbell’s diaries, ‘Prelude to Power’ published in the Guardian.
Campbell later wrote Brown felt ‘betrayed’ when Peter Mandelson, a key Labour party leader, backed Blair’s leadership bid after initially telling Campbell the wave of support for Blair was ‘froth’ and ‘would go away’.
Campbell had refused to publish the extracts while Labour was in power, fearing it would damage the party’s image.
Brown later accused Blair of allowing Mandelson to dictate policy, which led Blair to shout: ‘He’s not in charge of ****ing policy – I’m trying to get a political show on the road and sometimes I think I’m leading a Toytown party.’