LONDON – Tony Blair said Wednesday that he would love a chance to return as Britain's prime minister — but acknowledged a comeback is extremely unlikely.
In an interview to mark the fifth anniversary of his departure from office, the 59-year-old suggested how he believed the Labour Party that he led for 13 years could return to power — urging his successor not to abandon the political center ground.
Blair, who became Labour leader in 1994 and British chief in 1997, resigned in June 2007 — hurried out of power by supporters of his restive Treasury chief Gordon Brown, who had long desired to lead the country but lasted less than three years once he captured the post.
Asked if he would welcome a return as prime minister, Blair was quoted by London's Evening Standard as saying: "Yes, sure, but it's not likely to happen is it, so..."
The Labour Party was ousted from office in May 2010, when no party won an overall majority in a national election — leading the once rival Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats to form an unlikely coalition.
Blair said he believes the next election, scheduled for May 2015, will likely see Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives or the Labour Party win outright.
"Frankly you can't tell what will happen, if there will be a coalition or not, but I suspect it will be far more of a two party fight next time," Blair said.
He urged Ed Miliband — who replaced Brown as Labour Party leader in late 2010 — not to turn his back on Britain's financial sector or the business community in response to the global financial crisis.
"I think the hardest thing for any political party now is to work out what has really changed since the financial crisis and what hasn't," Blair was quoted as saying. "My view is that you still ... have to have a strong alliance with business as well as the unions. You have got to be very much in the center ground on things like public sector reform."