Tony Blair: Civil partnerships only happened because Labour ‘forced change’

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has hit out at Jeremy Corbyn, suggesting that civil partnerships might not have become a reality if he had not reformed the party.

Mr Blair oversaw the introduction of a raft of LGBT equality laws during his ten years in government – overcoming Conservative opposition to legislation including civil partnerships, same-sex adoption, the Gender Recognition Act and the 2007 Equality Act

The ex-PM wrote for the Guardian to speak out against left-winger Mr Corbyn, who is the front-runner to take over the Labour leadership after next month’s election.

He claimed: “Governments can change a country. Protest movements simply agitate against those who govern. Labour in government changed this country.

“I don’t just mean the minimum wage, civil partnerships, massive investment in public services, lifting millions out of poverty, or peace in Northern Ireland.

“I mean we changed the nation’s zeitgeist. We forced change on the Tories. We gave a voice to those who previously had none. We led and shaped the public discourse.

He warned that Mr Corbyn’s supporters “don’t really think it matters whether Labour wins an election or not”, and “actually disdain government” – and that they wouldn’t be able to force change from opposition.

Indeed, civil partnerships likely would not have happened if Mr Corbyn was Labour leader – because the lifelong supporter of LGBT rights recently suggested to PinkNews that he would have introduced same-sex marriage instead.

He told PinkNews earlier this month: “Many of us at the time questioned it and said, ‘why can’t it be marriage? Why does it have to be civil partnerships?’”