Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Tony Blair’s No 10 haul included watches and Bono’s guitar

Tony Blair

Tony Blair’s inability to deduce that it was, in the end, time to go, seems all the more remarkable after it emerged that the former Prime Minister appears to have a keen interest in horology.

No fewer than 12 expensive watches, nine of which were given to him by the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, are on a list of gifts given to Mr Blair which he took with him when he left Downing Street for good.

Others include a guitar signed by the U2 singer Bono.

A lengthy Freedom of Information battle resulted in the publication of the 76 items he received while in charge of the country.

Under the ministerial code, gifts become the property of the Government.

Ministers are permitted to keep anything with a value less than £140. Anything worth more, they can buy at market value, minus £140.

The new list reveals that Mr Blair's raid on the Number 10 gift cupboard was far more extensive than previously thought. Until now he was known to have taken only 22 items, including a pair of watches from Mr Berlusconi.

The new list details a further 54 gifts. Both the Cabinet Office and Mr Blair's office refused to confirm how much he paid for the items.

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