He tried – and failed – to end decades of bitter conflict in the Middle East.
Now Tony Blair has attempted what seems like an equally impossible task: trying to unite the warring factions tearing the People’s Vote campaign apart.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the former Prime Minister has stepped in to try to stop the bitter feud between his former acolytes at the body pushing for a second Brexit referendum.
His intervention on Friday attempted to ‘knock heads together’ and end the unedifying public slanging match between some of his closest friends.
Tony Blair (pictured) has attempted what seems like an equally impossible task: trying to unite the warring factions tearing the People’s Vote campaign apart
The toxic meltdown at the top of the People’s Vote organisation was exposed last month when The Mail on Sunday published devastating leaked texts and emails that revealed the extent of infighting.
On one side are former Blairite titans Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, on the other their old PR ally, Roland Rudd.
Last night a source said that Mr Blair ‘broke some eggs rather than bread over lunch on Friday in an attempt to sort things out’.
As a result, People’s Vote acting chief executive Patrick Heneghan yesterday stood down after days of defiance. He had come under pressure over a slew of lurid sex and drugs allegations made by women working on the pressure group, which he denied.
Mr Heneghan had been put into the role last month by Mr Rudd, chairman of the controlling Open Britain faction, following his surprise sacking of two key players – former spin doctors Tom Baldwin and James McGrory.
On one side are former Blairite titans Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson (pictured), on the other their old PR ally, Roland Rudd
The so-called coup sparked uproar among the two dozen staff on the campaign, who effectively went on strike.
Shortly after the row flared up, the allegations around Mr Heneghan’s behaviour surfaced.
In a number of leaked legal documents seen by The Mail on Sunday, the 43-year-old is accused of inappropriate behaviour towards younger women, including a suggestion he invited one back to his flat to take cocaine.
Last night a People’s Vote source said he had ‘disgraced himself’ during an incident after the group’s 500,000-strong march in Central London last month.
The insider said Heneghan ‘was all over the place’ and ‘had made women who worked at People’s Vote feel very uncomfortable’.
But a furious Mr Heneghan hit back to say: ‘I totally deny these politically motivated allegations. I’ve already fully complied with an initial investigation and will now take a couple of weeks of leave to comply with another one.’
And a friend added: ‘Patrick has worked in politics for 22 years without ever facing any allegations of this nature.
‘He is being smeared and threatened as collateral damage in a battle between Roland Rudd and the senior staff he sacked a couple of weeks ago.
‘They are backed by former New Labour spin doctors who specialise in smearing and bullying their opponents. Everyone who knows Patrick knows the allegations are a load of rubbish.’
Yesterday Anne Weyman, a member of Open Britain’s board, wrote to People’s Voice staff to update them on the investigation into Mr Heneghan.
She said she had met a number of female staff members ‘to listen to their views’, and added that while it was initially believed that the probe could be undertaken while Mr Heneghan remained in his post, this was no longer the case.
‘Roland has spoken to Patrick, who has, with a heavy heart, come to the same conclusion,’ she wrote. ‘He also believes that the best thing, now, is for him to take a leave of absence for the period of the investigation, and is determined to clear his name.’
Last night People’s Vote campaign staff hit back in a statement: ‘Almost two weeks since Roland Rudd… took a wrecking ball to the best political campaign in the UK, the person he imposed as acting CEO has been suspended.
‘This decision will at least allow women, who warned the Open Britain board that Patrick Heneghan’s presence represented an unsafe working environment, the chance to re-enter the office.
‘This campaign is about more than boardroom machinations. It is about the future of our country.’