Tony Blair has denied Tory claims that he breached COVID-19 restrictions by failing to self-isolate for a fortnight after a two-day trip to the US on a non-public jet.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, the previous prime minister was pictured leaving a restaurant in London’s Mayfair 10 days after getting back from Washington final month.
The paper claims Mr Blair appealed to Whitehall officers for particular dispensation from the COVID-19 rules, however was not issued with the formal exemption letter he would have wanted to keep away from the 14-day isolation interval.
A spokesman for the previous prime minister instructed the paper he was invited by the US authorities due to the function he performed within the settlement between Israel and the UAE, describing the ceremony as a “diplomatic convention”.
He was suggested to comply with rules on attending worldwide conferences, having travelled to the US for a ceremony on the White House at which Israel signed agreements establishing formal relations with Bahrain and the UAE, his spokesman stated.
Mr Blair posed no danger to anybody as he was examined earlier than his departure, on arrival on the White House, and once more a number of instances since returning to the UK, his spokesman added.
“We consider he adopted all UK and US authorities tips as suggested,” his spokesman stated. “He was not refused exemption by the UK authorities.
“He was instructed to comply with the steering on worldwide conferences, which he did; the US authorities had cleared the go to as a result of it was for the diplomatic convention on the White House.
“Mr Blair was examined for COVID earlier than departing the UK, on arrival on the White House, when he returned to the UK and has been examined a number of instances since. All exams have been unfavourable.”
And a Foreign Office spokesman stated: “The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) gives journey exemptions to diplomats travelling on enterprise relating to the pursuits of the UK, representatives of worldwide organisations, and their households and dependants. Those issued an exemption won’t want to self-isolate.”
But former Tory minister David Jones, a member of the general public administration committee choose committee of MPs, claimed it was laborious to see how Mr Blair may depend on claiming he had been examined “once we have not received a testing regime”.
Mr Jones instructed The Sunday Telegraph: “It units an appalling instance to travellers if a former prime minister seems to flout the rules in such a flagrant method.”
The worldwide conferences exemption to the quarantine rules applies to diplomats, employees at worldwide our bodies such because the UN and formal representatives at worldwide conferences who’ve been “granted privileges and immunities”.
The Telegraph experiences that Mr Blair flew to Washington DC on 14 September and was pictured with different visitors on the South Lawn of the White House, holding a face masks in his hand as he posed for photos with US political figures together with Frank Luntz, the veteran pollster, and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican chief within the House of Representatives.
Mr Luntz instructed The Sunday Telegraph: “Tony Blair was a rock star at this occasion. People have been lining up for photographs with him.”
Mr Blair then returned to the UK on 16 September and the Telegraph claims that 10 days afterward 26 September he was seen leaving Harry’s Bar in London’s Mayfair.
Last month, Mr Blair urged the federal government to usher in mass coronavirus testing at airports and minimize quarantine instances to 5 days instead to the blanket 14-day quarantine, saying it will have “vital advantages each to people and the economic system”.