Former prime minister Tony Blair has denied breaking coronavirus restrictions after a visit to the US final month.
A report by The Sunday Telegraph claims Blair, 67, requested for particular dispensation after the visit to Washington DC, however didn’t obtain the exemption required to keep away from a 14-day quarantine.
Mr Blair failed to self-isolate for a fortnight following the 2 day journey to the US capital on a personal jet, in accordance to the report.
The former Labour prime minister was pictured leaving a restaurant in London’s Mayfair, 10 days after returning to the UK final month.
Mr Blair reportedly appealed to Whitehall officers for particular dispensation from quarantine however was issued no formal exemption.
A spokesperson for Mr Blair mentioned the previous prime minister was invited by the US authorities to the occasion on the White House, which noticed Israel signing an settlement establishing formal relations with Bahrain and the UAE, given the function he had performed within the settlement between the nations.
Describing the ceremony as a “diplomatic conference,” Mr Blair’s team claim he was advised to follow rules regarding the attendance of international conferences.
The spokesperson added that Mr Blair was no risk to anyone, claiming he “was tested for Covid before departing the UK, on arrival at the White House, when he returned to the UK and has been tested several times since. All tests have been negative.”
“We believe he followed all UK and US government guidelines as advised,” his spokesperson mentioned. “He was not refused exemption by the UK government.”
“He was told to follow the guidance on international conferences, which he did; the US government had cleared the visit because it was for the diplomatic conference at the White House.”
The Sunday Telegraph experiences that Mr Blair flew to Washington on 14 September. The following day, whereas holding a face masks on the South Lawn, he was pictured posing with political figures together with Frank Luntz, the veteran pollster and Kevin McCarthy, Republican chief in the home of representatives.
Mr Luntz informed the Sunday paper that Mr Blair was a “rock star at this event” and that “people were lining up for photos with him.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office mentioned: “The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) offers journey exemptions to diplomats travelling on enterprise relating to the pursuits of the US, representatives of worldwide organisations, and their households and dependants. Those issued an exemption is not going to want to self-isolate.”
Mr Blair has been thought of a personal citizen since he left his function as a Middle East envoy in 2015.
Former Conservative minister David Jones, member of the general public administration committee choose committee of MPs, mentioned it’s tough for Mr Blair to depend on the declare he acquired examined “when we haven’t got a testing regime.”
Mr Jones added in a remark to The Sunday Telegraph: “It sets an appalling example to travellers if a former prime minister appears to flout the rules in such a fragrant manner.”
Mr Blair had returned to the UK on 16 September and the Telegraph claims that 10 days later, on 26 September, Mr Blair was seen leaving Harry’s Bar in Mayfair.
This follows Mr Blair’s urging of the federal government final month to introduce mass testing at airports and to minimize the quarantine interval from a fortnight to 5 days, saying it might have “significant benefits both to individuals and the economy.”