Private jets, five star hotels, taxpayers' money, armed guards and millions and millions of pounds: Welcome to Tony Blair’s world

Taxpayers spending £16,000 a week on Blair’s security, investigation claims

Upon his election to the Commons in 1983, Tony Blair espoused his rationale for his socialist beliefs.

“At its best,” he said, “socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for co-operation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality, not because it wants people to be the same but because only through equality in our economic circumstances can our individuality develop properly.”

Since leaving the Commons in 2007, Blair has pursued a relentless programme of business empire building, and much of it has come at the taxpayers’ expense, an investigation by the Telegraph reveals.

The research by the paper highlights the extent to which Blair has abandoned any last vestige of the socialist principles he championed in the early days of his parliamentary career.

Instead, a picture of a wealth-fixated, jet-setting plutocrat emerges more clearly than ever.

The documents indicate that Blair is visiting as many as five countries a week, using private jets, staying in the world’s most exclusive hotels and keeping an entourage of armed guards and Met officers around him at all times.

The cost for the teams of police required to accompany Blair around the world is a staggering £14,000 - £16,000 a week, with hotel rooms for each of his police bodyguards costing up to £1,000 a night each.

This sum is entirely picked up by the taxpayer.

Conflict of interest

The investigation has prompted accusations of various conflicts of interest between Blair’s business empire and his role as Quartet Representative to the Middle East, from which he is due to stand down at the end of June.

One ambassador reportedly described Blair’s activities as “pretty distasteful”, adding that Blair had “used the ticket of the Middle East Envoy and Quartet” in order to pursue his own business interests.

A British ambassador is also quoted by the Telegraph, describing how a number of companies connected to Blair, including his wife’s law firm, were “sniffing around” for business in European countries.

But Blair’s people deny the claims. A spokesman said: “There are no conflicts of interests with any of Mr Blair’s work, including his role as Quartet representative.”

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