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September 8 - 142010
By Holly Watt TONY BLAIR writes that, for a politician, having an affair is like being able to escape to a “remote desert island of pleasure”.
In one of the most intriguing parts of his memoir, he discusses the impulses that might prompt politicians to cheat on their wives, as he describes how his leadership was shaken by colleagues having affairs, including John Prescott, then Deputy Prime Minister, and Robin Cook, then Foreign Secretary.
In highly personal extracts that have surprised Westminster insiders, he explores the “free bird” impulse to have affairs “to spring you from that prison of self-control”.
“Then there is the moment of encounter, so exciting, so naughty, so lacking in selfcontrol,” Mr Blair writes. “Suddenly you are transported out of your world of intrigue and issues and endless machinations and the serious piled on the serious, and just put on a remote desert island of pleasure, out of it all, released, carefree.
“You become a different person, if only for an instant, until returned back to reality.”
The former Prime Minister also admits that many women found politicians highly desirable. “It’s a strange thing, politics and sex,” Mr Blair points out. “People have often said to me that power is a kind of aphrodisiac, and so women – politics still being male-dominated – would come on to politicians in a way they would never dream of with anyone else.”
The comments are made as Mr Blair discusses the revelation that Mr Prescott had an affair with Tracey Temple, his diary secretary.
He seeks to justify the behaviour, writing: “I totally understood the desire to escape. And it’s nothing really to do with how happy or otherwise your marriage is. It’s an explosion of irresponsibility in an otherwise responsible life.” Although he decided not to sack Mr Prescott, he says that, retrospectively, it would have been better to do so.
Mr Blair says that he was relatively relaxed about the news that Mr Cook had been having an affair with his assistant, Gaynor Regan.
Mr Blair believed the public was also tolerant of sexual misdemeanours. “The issue is not the fornication, but the complication,” he said.
Although Cherie Blair is mentioned relatively infrequently in the memoir, Mr Blair provides some intimate details about their relationship, particularly following the death of the Labour leader John Smith in 1994: “On that night of
By Gordon Rayner and Robert Winnett
THE tensions between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown permeate almost every chapter of Blair’s memoir, which gives the most detailed account of the dysfunctional relationship between the two men.
p51WhenNeil Kinnock loses the 1992 election, MrBlair believes John Smith should be challenged as a leadership candidate but Gordon Brown is non-committal about a leadership challenge and MrBlair tells him “frankly” that it is a problem that he is unmarried.
whenhis colleague fails to “seize themoment” in 1992. From then on, he is “detached” fromMr Brown, even if others do not notice it.
p58Their relationship takes another significant step apart whenMrBlair refuses an offer from MrBrown to share an office in Millbank, on the advice of Cherie Blair.
p62After the death of Mr Smith, MrBlair steels himself for a fight with MrBrown, knowing that he will probably “bully” and even threaten him, and is determined to beat him to the leadership.
p53Hereveals that MrBrown came to an agreement with Mr Smith that hewould become shadow chancellor in return for letting him stand unopposed. MrBlair “knew in mybones” that it was amistake.
p54The“seed” of MrBlair’s belief that he should be leader, rather than MrBrown, is sown p69There was “never a deal” in which MrBrown was promised the leadership after MrBlair, partly because it is only in government that the ability to lead becomes clear.
p73MrBrown regards MrBlair as an “empty vessel” into which his ideas can be poured and processed. But it is “never going to be that way” and the rancour begins, with arguments over who should be deputy leader.
Brown to be a “big beast” because he has no fear of being “eclipsed”.
p74MrBrown clumsily takes Peter Mandelson to one side and asks him to work under him, to which MrMandelson replies that heworked only for the leader, sealing the “enmity” between them.
p301Bythe time of the 2000 party conference, “tensions” are starting to show and MrBrown becomes “preoccupied” with the succession, worrying that any difficult or unpopular policies will undermine his “inheritance”.
p84 MrBlair takes the landmark decision to ditch Labour’s Clause IV policy on nationalisation, but does not tell MrBrown how he will make the announcement. Distrust is already present “like a shadow between us”.
p113MrBlair claims the Bank of England’s independence was his idea, not MrBrown’s, and “when I suggested it, he readily agreed”.
p114Heallows MrBrown to announce the Bank’s independence to avoid the government appearing to be “a one-man show”. Hemakes a conscious decision to allow p313The2001election campaign convinces MrBlair that the “TB/GB story was unlikely to have a happy ending”.
p484The issue of tuition fees has become a “battle of wills” between MrBlair and MrBrown, with the prime minister determined to push through the reforms.
p494MrBlair says that Mr Brown’s opposition to ID cards is based on “unbelievably duff information” provided to him by his own pollsters.
p494 MrBlair says that, on
‘One copy of A Journey and do you sell travel sickness pills?’
many important issues, the general picture is that “I was pressing forward and Gordon was resisting”.
p497 In November 2003, Mr Blair meets MrBrown at John Prescott’s flat in Admiralty Arch and tells him that he is prepared to stand down before the next election, “but the constant obstruction and wilful blocking of the reform programme had to stop”.
p499 MrBlair says that the relentless personal pressure from MrBrown, while wearing, does not trouble him asmuch as people think.
p500MrBlair says that he does not want personal bitterness to stand in the way of MrBrown, but by the time he has realised that he has made the wrong choice, it is too late.
p506Whenconsidering whether to stand down, MrBlair accuses MrBrown of making the grievous error of trying to bully him rather than reassure him. “He snarled when he should have charmed.”
p509MrBlair eventually decides that he cannot hand over to Mr Brown and tells him, recalling: “You can imagine the reaction.” telegraph.co.uk/expat
T In his own words Read the full text ofWilliam Hague’s statement on our website telegraph.co.uk/politics
September 8 - 142010
Pulling power (clockwise from top left): Tony Blair with his wife Cherie in 1993; and with his adviser Anji Hunter; John Prescott and Tracey Temple; Robin Cook and Gaynor Regan; and Bill Clinton, the former US President, with Monica Lewinsky, with whom he had a notorious affair
BLAIR ON WORLD LEADERS
Bill Clinton Themost formidable politician I had ever encountered. George WBush George had immense simplicity in howhesawtheworld. Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership. Boris Yeltsin Thehugbegan. The first 10 seconds were, I thought, wonderfully friendly. Thenext 10 began to get a little uncomfortable. The following 10 started respiratory problems. Vladimir Putin People fell back as he approached, not in fear or anything but a little in awe. Nicolas Sarkozy God, you look like Napoleon.
BLAIR ON RELIGION
RELIGION is more important than politics, saysMrBlair, in defiance of Alastair Campbell’s memorabledeclaration that “we don’t doGod”.
His book contains little about his faith or his conversion to RomanCatholicism, but he says hewasfortunate in having a passion bigger than politics — religion. Hesayshis favourite parable of the Gospel is that of the sowerwhoseseed fell on rocky ground andongoodearth, which, to him, illustrates the difference between old andNewLabour.
William Hague and Christopher Myers. Mr Hague says he declared that he was not homosexual to end speculation over his adviser
12 May, 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength, I was an animal following my instinct.”
He also describes being lovestruck during his first serious relationship, with
Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, during his last year at school.
“You know the first person you ever fall in love with; you know the incredible outpouring of desire, the overwhelming sense of something unique,
p522After the 2005 elections, the party “misread” the vote and thinks it mayhave done better with MrBrown as leader.
p529During the campaign, relations with MrBrown were “rather good,” but their good relations suddenly go downhill after election night because Mr Brown accuses MrBlair of failing to consult him over the new Cabinet.
p529MrBrown’s “people” in the media are “perpetually dissing me” and saying that another leader would have done better.
p542MrBlair refuses to talk to MrBrown after he puts a spanner in the works of the 2005 EUnegotiations over the CommonAgricultural Policy. Mr Brown is effectively trying to get the French to apologise for ever supporting the CAP, meaning that MrBlair “had the most frightful time with Gordon throughout”. In the end, he stops taking MrBrown’s phone calls.
p608MrBlair accuses MrBrown of blackmailing him over cash for honours by saying that if he does not back down over proposed pension reform, MrBrown will instigate an inquiry. Describing the meeting as “the ugliest” he ever had with MrBrown, he says the chancellor is in “venomous mood”. “The temperature, already well below freezing point, went arctic” when he says hewill begin an inquiry unless MrBlair bows to his demands on pensions. MrBlair refuses, and the inquiry begins.
p609From then on, their relationship is on a different footing. MrBlair could not forget what MrBrown had done and finds it hard to forgive.
p615MrBlair tells MrBrown that hewill not fight another election, but MrBrown clearly fears that he is going to be “robbed again”.
p616Bythe time he is ready to step down, MrBlair comes to the inexpressible, inexplicable and even incomprehensible, but so thrilling, uplifting, your heart pumping and soaring?”
Mr Blair also provides details of his long friendship with his “sexy and exuberant” aide Anji Hunter, of whom
Mrs Blair was reported to be jealous, writing: “Anji was my best friend. We had known each other since the age of 16 when I had tried climbing into her sleeping bag at a party in the north of Scotland (without success!).”
conclusion that unless MrBrown defines what he stands for, it will be a disaster. He describes Mr Brown as having no “gut instinct”. “Political calculation, yes. Political feelings, no. Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero.”
p617MrBrown’s premiership is likely to be “terminal” for Labour’s term in power.
p655 MrBlair believes that the new government will be “amess” because it is not NewLabour but also not a strong alternative. Because of MrBrown’s“selfevident personal drawbacks”, he will quickly come under attack. A strong political programme will help him through, but because he has not got one, hewill have to rely on his personality and “that was never going to work”.
p657MrBlair writes amemoto MrBrown setting out some ideas on how to win another election, but instead MrBrown “wandered into a cul-de-sac of mixed messages and indecision”. He knows that the “problems” with MrBrown will emerge “pretty soon” and in some quarters there will be a “clamour” for Mr Blair to return.
p679MrBlair says Labour lost the 2010 election because the party stopped being NewLabour, adding that MrBrown is “unsuited to the modern type of political scrutiny”.
p679MrBlair says that Mr Brown was never a “comfortable bloke” sort of politician.
p680MrBlair believes MrBrown is preventing Chancellor Alistair Darling from implementing policy to tackle the financial crisis in the way hewants.
p680MrBlair says that Labour failed during the financial crisis because it rejected NewLabour economic policies.
Editorial Comment, page 19 Simon Heffer, page 19
By Robert Winnett Deputy Political Editor WILLIAM HAGUE admitted last week that he shared a hotel room with a male aide but insisted that he was not homosexual.
The Foreign Secretary announced that his adviser was resigning but described allegations of an “improper” relationship between them as “untrue and malicious”. Mr Hague also made clear that he had never been in a relationship with a man. He went on to disclose intimate details about his “strong” marriage, revealing that he and his wife had suffered several miscarriages. Mr Hague said he had decided to make a “full personal statement” after extensive speculation over the state of his marriage to his wife Ffion and the appointment of Christopher Myers as a special adviser.
“This speculation seems to stem from the fact that, whilst campaigning before the election, we [Mr Hague and Christopher Myers] occasionally shared twin hotel rooms,” the Foreign Secretary said. “Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else. In hindsight, I should have given greater consideration to what might have been made of that, but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to Ffion and to Christopher.” Mr Hague said that following the allegations, Mr Myers had decided to resign. He said any suggestion that his appointment was “due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with a man.”
The Foreign Secretary has faced questions over the unusual appointment of Mr Myers. He was given the job in May but his name did not appear on a list of advisers released to Parliament.
He was the third special adviser to Mr Hague, despite the convention that Cabinet ministers are only allowed to have two political aides.
Rumours about their apparently close relationship began circulating after pictures appeared of them together in London last summer. Mr Myers said that he “categorically denied having an improper relationship” with Mr Hague.