Breakfast at Tony's

Tony Blair is now almost an unperson in the Westminster village he dominated for so long. Post New Labour MPs are keen to avoid refighting Blair-Brown era factional battles, but it turns out that small groups of members from the new intake - about six or seven at a time - have been meeting Mr Tony for informal and very off-the-record chat-ettes about politics and strategy. The events have usually been breakfasts, under the aegis of the Blairite think-tank, Progress.

It's not, I'm assured, a factional thing - an army of continuity Blairites receiving their orders and waiting for the moment to strike. Nor is it an attempt to win newcomers over to a particular world view - the guests are not being forcibly injected with Blairite nano-particles. But it is an attempt to reach out to a new political generation and discuss the themes set out in the former PM's 15th anniversary speech to Progress.

MPs who've nibbled croissants in the presence tell me the discussions have been thought-provoking. But most who attended did so out of curiosity, rather than any sense of allegiance - and they didn't always buy into their former leader's analysis of events. None, incidentally, detected anything resembling an attempt to undermine Ed Miliband, still less an attempt to push the leadership claims of his brother. This appears to have been what it says on the tin: a series of discussions intended to reinforce New Labour themes like the need to be credible with business.

But for those who assumed that Tony Blair had abandoned British politics for the international statesperson's circuit, this level of quiet engagement with Labour parliamentarians will come as a surprise. The maestro is back.

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