Globetrotter Tony Blair’s £16,000 weekly bill for security… that YOU pay for: Former PM ‘travelling to five countries a week with team of eight police officers’
- The former PM is visiting up to five countries a week with police protection
- Taxpayers are having to foot the £16,000 weekly bill for the police team
- Reportedly also uses the trips for business meetings and as part of his job
- His salary and that of advisers and consultants cost £57million over four years
Taxpayers are reportedly picking up a bill of £16,000 a week for former prime minister Tony Blair’s security detail
Taxpayers are picking up a bill of up to £16,000 a week for Tony Blair’s security detail to follow him around the world, it was claimed last night.
New details of the former prime minister’s activities suggest he is visiting up to five countries a week with a team of policemen funded by the public purse.
Mr Blair reportedly used the same trips to carry out both business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet representative of the UN, US, Russia and the EU in the Middle East.
That claim led to allegations of a potential conflict of interest.
An investigation also claimed Mr Blair, his advisers and consultants cost some £57million in salaries and expenses over four years. That is the equivalent of £350,000 for each of his staff.
While travelling around the world, Mr Blair is accompanied by a team of Metropolitan Police officers.
Their salaries and overtime as well as expenses are paid for by the taxpayer.
On some trips he is accompanied by as many as eight officers of different ranks, while another four are in his homes in Britain.
Each is likely to be paid at least £56,000 a year, but because of the overtime they accumulate on foreign trips their earnings will be upwards of £70,000 a year.
The Daily Telegraph report claimed Mr Blair stays in five-star hotels around the world, with each room for his bodyguards costing an estimated £1,000 on some trips.
In one week in February 2012 Mr Blair travelled to Israel as Quartet representative, then to the UAE, Qatar, China and Kazakhstan.
Mr Blair has reportedly secured a £1million contract with the World Bank – an institution he also dealt with while he was Middle East envoy.
He also made personal deals with Abu Dhabi while separately negotiating with the emirate over £29million in funding for the Palestinian Authority.
Andrew Bridgen, a Tory MP and critic of Mr Blair, said: ‘Mr Blair has consistently blurred the line between his official and commercial activities, while his security entourage has incurred huge expenses for the British taxpayer.
‘It is not appropriate for a man who has held the highest office in the land and has been privy to every one of our nation’s secrets to undertake work for a foreign power.’
Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said: ‘Mr Blair needs to be transparent about his business activities, otherwise he faces the risk of being accused of having conflicts of interest.’
Mr Blair reportedly used the same trips to carry out both business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet representative of the UN, US, Russia and the EU in the Middle East
A spokesman for Mr Blair said Abu Dhabi’s funding for the Palestinian Authority came from a ‘separate organisation’ to Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund that Mr Blair advises.
She also said he did not secure a £1million private contract with the World Bank, but his firm Tony Blair Associates ‘was awarded the contract in a competitive tender’.
She said ‘much’ of the information in the investigation was ‘wrong and inaccurate and is mainly based on unsourced allegations and speculative assertions’.
‘Because it does not suit their agenda to include anything positive, such as how we helped facilitate a sizeable donation from the UAE to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which has funded a new research unit and which was done pro bono, this article is neither balanced nor fair.’
She added: ‘There are no conflicts of interests with any of Mr Blair’s work, including his role as Quartet Representative. We have clear policies and procedures in place which precisely prevent such occurrences.’
Last month it was announced Mr Blair would stand down from his post representing the Quartet in the Middle East.
He has taken up the honorary role of Chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, a campaign group against anti-Semitism.
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