Tony Blair’s police protection costs taxpayers millions, report claims

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 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.

Tony Blair's police protection costs taxpayers millions, report claims

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.

It is likely that Mr Blair picks up the cost of his bodyguards’ travel when they fly on private jets. In one week in February 2012 Mr Blair travelled to Israel in his role as Middle East envoy and then flew on to UAE, Qatar, China and Kazakhstan where he conducted a mixture of charity work and private business.

He stayed with his entourage at hotels including the five-star Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the Four Seasons in Doha.

Mr Blair has also been nurturing a relationship with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

At one meeting in January 2011, apparently attended by Mr Blair at least partly in his capacity as Quartet envoy, he was accompanied by Stephan Kriesel, the then head of his government advisory practice.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said that Mr Kriesel “happened to be travelling with him”.

The Telegraph’s investigation also reveals how Mr Blair’s firm, Tony Blair Associates, now has a £1.1 million contract with the World Bank to carry out consultancy work, after he enjoyed a close relationship with the Bank as Quartet envoy. A member of the World Bank staff was seconded to work in his Quartet office.

As part of its contract with the Bank, Tony Blair Associates has provided a team of consultants to advise the Romanian government on setting up a “delivery unit”.

The Bank said Mr Blair’s firm offered “the most competitive price” of five competing bids. A spokesman for Mr Blair said the work was “not for profit”.

In October 2013 Nicholas Cannon, the British ambassador to Albania, told Whitehall mandarins that several “Blair-related outfits” were “sniffing for work in Albania”, including Cherie Blair’s law firm Omnia Strategy.

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

“Clear policies and procedures” were in place to prevent conflicts, including a clause in his commercial contracts stating he will not undertake work that conflicts with his Quartet responsibilities.”

The spokesman added that Abu Dhabi’s funding for the Palestinian Authority came from a “separate organisation” to Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund that Mr Blair advises.

She added that Mr Blair had “absolutely never used his position as a Quartet representative to further business interests” and suggested that it was in “the country’s interests” for Foreign Office officials to support Mr Blair’s work abroad.

Spokesmen for Mr Blair and Scotland Yard declined to comment on his security arrangements.

Tony Blair’s diary is planned meticulously while he is on the lecture circuit. On one trip to the US in 2011, he attended three business events in as many days in California.

At 7.30am on Nov 1, having arrived in San Francisco the night before, Mr Blair was driven to an event for Charles Scwhab, an investment bank. His duties began at 7.45 with a 45-minute meeting “with 10 VIPs”, before making a 30-minute speech. There was then half an hour of questions, then 45 minutes of photographs.

Then, Mr Blair was on his way to the airport for a 500-mile trip to San Diego, where he was to appear at 2.45pm at the annual conference of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society.

An hour later, Mr Blair was on a plane back to San Francisco to appear at a fundraising event for the US arm of his Faith Foundation.

The next day he had a morning meeting before lunch with Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder, then departing for Napa at 2.30pm for a JP Morgan conference . He arrived at Auberge du Soleil, a hotel and spa, for cocktails at 6.30pm, where he was “to mingle” for an hour among the 130 attendees.

After dinner he would take part in a “fireside chat” with a news presenter, then after another 20-minute Q&A, Mr Blair, duties over, was on his way to his hotel in Napa — at no later than 9.05pm.

Read More : The new way police are trying to catch drivers who use their mobile phones

So what do you think?

Tell us in the comments.

More Details :
More Details :

You May Also Like