Mrs. Cherie Blair’s dealings with Mr. Peter Foster, the boyfriend of her friend and adviser Ms. Carole Caplin, have created a political mess for UK Premier Tony Blair. Blair’s office initially denied, but later confirmed that Foster had helped Mrs. Blair buy two apartments in the western city of Bristol.
Tony Blair’s office denied last week new allegations about his wife’s dealings with an Australian conman as political opponents pressed for an inquiry into the case. The Scotsman newspaper, quoting unidentified legal sources, said Mrs. Blair had requested and read documents laying out both the government case for removing conman Foster from Britain and the defence prepared by his lawyers.
Whilst in Copenhagen for the EU summit, Mr. Blair dismissed the above and fiercely criticised the renewed questions about the issue. “I think everyone’s had their pound of flesh and now it’s time to move on,” he told reporters in Copenhagen. If anyone had any real evidence of anything criminal, illegal or improper, they should give it to the authorities, he added.
Meanwhile at Downing 10, Mr. Godric Smith, spokesman for the prime minister, said Mrs. Blair never saw the court documents. Mrs. Blair has said she didn’t know Foster’s criminal history before police told her a few weeks ago that a tabloid newspaper was trying to set her up in a meeting with him so it could publish a damaging story.
Mrs. Blair earlier acknowledged in an emotional, televised statement that she had made mistakes, yet denied any wrongdoing. She said she spoke to Foster’s lawyers to check on how they were handling his case because she wanted to reassure her friend Ms. Caplin that everything was being done properly.
Ms. Caplin told the press that legal papers relating to Mr. Foster’s deportation were faxed to her at the Blair home, but that the prime minister’s wife refused to read them, saying it was inappropriate. “Cherie told me it would not be right for her to read them as it was not her case, so I folded them up, put them in my bag and took them home, basically,” she said in her first public comments about the case. (729)