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News | Published October 10 2018

Tony Blair: The Parliamentary Review is an amazing enterprise

The former prime minister Tony Blair spoke to The Parliamentary Review gala, one of very few speeches he's given in the Houses of Parliament since his resignation as an MP in 2007. In a broad speech, Blair reflected on the state of British politics and discussed the role that the Review plays in ensuring that MPs across the political spectrum are “better educated".

After being introduced by Daniel Yossman, the Executive Director of The Parliamentary Review, Blair began by congratulating the team behind the Review for putting together what he described as an “amazing publication". He continued by saying: “It has developed over the last few years into something quite remarkable. I love to see good, smart people doing well and you are doing well, so thank you and congratulations.”

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  • Tony Blair spoke at The Parliamentary Review gala 
  • Blair discussed his time in office, the rise of populism and the excellent work conducted by The Parliamentary Review

The former prime minister then addressed regular Parliamentary Review gala evening host Julia Hartley-Brewer, thanking her for her warm words earlier in the evening. He went on to joke about the fact that while they disagreed on a few issues, namely Brexit, they had one thing in the common – neither of them could attend the Labour party conference.

The Parliamentary Review has developed over the last few years into something quite remarkable. I love to see good, smart people doing well and you are doing well, so thank you, and congratulations

Blair also talked about the rise of populism around the world, questioning whether it was a trend that was still growing or merely a “blip that is going to disappear quite quickly". One thing we can be quite sure of, he said, is that “when The Parliamentary Review is published in 2019, we are definitely going to find that there will been a number of interesting events from the previous year".

Blair went on to say when he first came into office in 1997. He described a situation on his first day in office, when he sat down for a meeting with the cabinet secretary who simply asked him: “Now what?" Finding out the “now what”, he said, was what is “so great about The Parliamentary Review".

Blair finished by stating that “It’s not that politicians aren’t perfectly happy to talk about something of which they know nothing about, but the Review should give them the opportunity to study what is going on in different sectors, to get themselves up to speed, so even if they are not any wiser they are better educated. To Daniel and everyone here, thank you for the opportunity – it has been a great pleasure to be here. I really think it is an excellent enterprise that you are engaged in".

Blair’s former cabinet colleague and co-chair of The Parliamentary Review Lord Blunkett also spoke during the event, discussing his time as home secretary and education and employment secretary, before regaling the crowd with stories about his and Blair’s time in government. Blunkett thanked his “old friend”, and remarked on the importance of the work he is no conducting at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a non-profit organisation that aims to make globalisation work for everyone.

It’s not that politicians aren’t perfectly happy to talk about something of which they know nothing about, but the The Parliamentary Review should give them the opportunity to study what is going on in different sectors, to get themselves up to speed, so even if they are not any wiser they are better educated