Does centrism, the brand of politics which propelled Tony Blair into power, have a future? With the rise of Donald Trump across the Atlantic and Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader in the UK, the former prime minister has been forced to admit that he is unsure.

"Now I obviously believe passionately it hasn't, that it's still the answer and not the problem, and, you know, the evidence points both ways," Blair told Politico's Off Message podcast.

But the 63-year-old pointed to Hilary Clinton's nomination as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, David Cameron's victory at the 2015 general election and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as evidence that centrism still wins votes.

"So, you know, this is not a decided argument at all, and that's why I say I am revaluating and rethinking, but I'm not persuaded that the politics of the centre is wrong in the country," Blair added.

"I still think it's the most important—and I think that ultimately, what is happening is that you are getting a whole series of issues that really grew up in the later part of the 20th century that are now going to provide, properly, a fairly profound political realignment at some point."

The comments come amid Labour's latest leadership election, with former shadow cabinet minister Owen Smith attempting to dethrone Corbyn. Both contenders are on the left of the party and have, among other things, promised to re-nationalise the UK's railways and abolish zero-hours contracts.

The contest follows the EU referendum, which saw Labour's heartlands in the north of England and Midlands back a Brexit, and comes after Ed Miliband oversaw Labour lose 26 seats at the general election. The centre-left party was last in power under Gordon Brown in 2010.

"The British people were lied to by the Leave campaign – they deserve to have a say on whatever exit deal the Tories strike with the EU. Theresa May says that 'Brexit means Brexit' – but nobody knows what Brexit looks like," Blair said.

"It could involve trashing workers' rights and environmental protections, opening our NHS up to foreign competition, making it harder for us to trade with our neighbours and damaging our economy. I'm a passionate pro-European, and I will fight tooth and nail to keep us in the EU."

The key dates of the Labour leadership election

  • 18 July: Signing up as a registered supporter to vote in the election begins.
  • 19 - 20 July: Number of MP nominations for each candidate to be published.
  • 20 July: Deadline for people to sign up as a registered supporter closes.
  • 22 August: Ballot papers will begin to be sent out around the UK, but to Labour Party members only.
  • 21 September: Deadline for ballot papers to be returned is midday.
  • 24 September: The election result will be announced at a Leadership Conference in Liverpool.