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As Stanmore Politics reported, yesterday saw a high profile visit by ex-prime minister Tony Blair to Harrow West.

 Blair dismissed the polls and spoke confidently about Labour’s chances, but not everyone in the media was convinced.

 Writing for the Telegraph, James Kirkup said the strangest thing was that Labour strategists thought the visit was a good idea.

“What propelled Mr Brown into No 10 in 2007 was antipathy to Mr Blair: voters, and especially Labour voters, had had enough of him, his grin and his interventionist wars.

“For those voters, Mr Brown’s principal offer was that he was not Tony Blair. What message does this send to them?”

The Guardian was more forgiving, running with the headline ‘Tony Blair’s tan brings much-needed glow to Labour on the road’, but went on to say:

“Blair’s appearance in Harrow West may indicate how worried Labour has become.

“A Tory victory in this seat would hand Cameron a majority of 84 – almost double Margaret Thatcher’s majority in 1979.”

Jim Pickard asked on the FT blog: ‘Tony Blair rides to the rescue’ but then added:

“I’ve put down a bet of £20 at Ladbrokes on a Tory win

“Blair said Labour still had a chance of winning. If you say so.”

For the Mail, the question was why Blair was not campaigning with Gordon Brown, adding:

“Mr Blair, who looked extremely thin but deeply tanned, offered only lukewarm support for his successor as he attended a clinic in Harrow.”

What do you think about Tony Blair visiting Harrow. Perfect pitch or last ditch? As always let Stanmore Politics know.

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There was a mixed reaction for Tony Blair in Harrow this morning as he joined the Labour election campaign.

According to one onlooker the former Prime Minister was greeted by a ‘small crowd of unhappy people’ when he visited a health clinic in Rayners Lane.

He was there to campaign alongside incumbent Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas.

However asked having his blood pressure taken at the Alexandra Avenue Surgery, Blair appeared relaxed and chatty – and rather suntanned after being stuck in Israel due to the Ash cloud.

Asked whether he was healthier than Gordon Brown, he quipped: “It’s a tough job being prime minister – I know.”

Even the revelation that the clinic doctor was ‘a Tory man’ didn’t faze him.

‘Whoops,” he joked. “I’m trying to work out how to handle that one, I’m not sure I
can.”

He was optimistic about Labour’s chances, despite another day of poor polling for the party. “I don’t think [Brown] has failed at all,” he said.

 “I think that Labour has got every chance of succeeding.”

He said it was strange looking at the campaign from the outside, adding:

“When you start in an election campaign, particularly when you have got a new thing, which is the debates, then it will all revolve around a bit of who’s up, who’s down and all the rest of it.

“But once you get into the final days, I think people will really focus their minds on who has the best answers for the future, who has got the energy, the drive to take the country forward, who has got the answers to the questions the future is posing.”

Blair praised Thomas for his work as an MP, saying he had done a fantastic job.

Three campaigners for Rachel Joyce, the Conservative candidate for the constituency, met Blair as he left the clinic.

But a repeat of Gordon Brown’s Rochdale incident was narrowly avoided. Unite political director Charlie Whelan tweeted after:

“Great moment as Tony Blair forgot he had his microphone on as he left interview but TV bod asked for it back.”

Meanwhile David Cameron responded to Blair’s return by joking that it would improve Tango sales.

Both Gareth Thomas and Tony McNulty were elected in 1997 on the wave of New Labour support.

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