Nexus, the centre-left public policy network, is hoping to build contacts with the Liberal Democratic party. Identified with the Labour party and its Blairite wing since its launch earlier this year, Nexus wishes to expand contacts to the whole centre-left.
David Halpern of Cambridge University's faculty of social political sciences, one of Nexus coordinators, said: "We have seen the difficulties this has created for other groups as soon as anyone suggests something controversial and it is seen as a potential embarrassment for those with whom the group is identified. It can end up limiting you quite badly."
He added that Mr Blair's office was happy with the move.
Nexus organisers hope to replicate their strong links with the Labour journal Renewal by working together with its Liberal Democrat counterpart Reformer: But there was no likelihood of Conservatives being invited to join the network of about 1,000 names.
The strength of the Blair link will be reaffirmed today when he addresses a conference organised by Nexus and Renewal on "Shaping The New Century: Challenges for the Centre-Left".
Sessions include one on globalisation with a panel including Bob Rowthorn, professor of economics at Cambridge. "A suspicion is growing that globalisation is being used as a fig leaf by politicians who want to escape the blame for economic problems, or as an excuse for inaction," says the blurb. Future projects include a conference next March to draw together all the left-of-centre research groups on the topic of "Passing The Torch".
Nexus also hopes to bring together an advisory group for these to help ensure that they make the best possible use of scarce resources of time and people.