Tony Blair warns against UKIP’s ‘ugly nationalism’

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has issued a warning about the “ugly” nationalism of the UK Independence Party.

The former Labour politician, who oversaw a number of equality reforms as the UK’s Prime Minister between 1997 until 2007, made the comments during a speech at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

Mr Blair said: “National pride is a great thing. Nationalism, as a political cause in the hands of parties like UKIP, is almost always ugly and, despite being wrapped in the garb on high-sounding phrases, can never disguise its essentially mean spirit.”

“We know what this movement to wrench us out of Europe is based on. You can see it on display when Mr Farage swiftly moves the debate to immigrants.”

He remarked on Europe: “Just reflect on the forces of the campaign to get us out. UKIP and the right of the Tory party.

“Are they the standard-bearers of an open-minded, culturally-tolerant Britain? A decision to quit Europe would say a lot about us, and none of it good.

He also warned that an exit from the EU would show “a nation which has built its history on confidence towards others, defines itself by resentment of others”.

Mr Blair – who has previously hailed gay rights as one of his finest achievements – also reaffirmed his support for Ed Miliband during the speech.

The former Labour leader was Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007 – and during his time in office oversaw the repeal of Section 28, the introduction of civil partnerships, an equal age of consent, same-sex adoption, the Gender Recognition Act, and the end of the ban on gays in the military.