By David Rose
Downing Street asked editors this week to refrain from revealing
Tony Blair’s exact whereabouts on Barbados, after the Prime Minister
broke cover on his holiday island to attend a photo opportunity.
A news blackout on where Tony and Cherie Blair had gone for their
summer holiday was partially lifted so the media could report that the
PM had attended a memorial service to Barbadians who fought in the
Second World War.
However, TV and newspapers were urged to
continue to keep the public in the dark as to where exactly the Blairs
were staying, or who was their host.
The affair revived
speculation as to whether the blackout had been motivated by security
considerations, as had been claimed, or whether the Blairs simply
wanted to avoid the media.
Downing Street itself provoked
searching questions by revealing the Blairs had flown to Barbados in
July on a commercial flight, when they would have been seen by other
Nor could the PM’s spokesperson explain why, if
Blair’s security was at risk, his whereabouts were known to the
Barbados Legion who had invited him to the memorial service.
don’t know how the Barbados Legion knew he was there but you can
imagine it is a small place and obviously people get to know,” she said.
Hill, the PM’s director of communications, e-mailed editors in July
asking them to refrain from reporting the Blairs’ holiday destination
for security reasons.
The partial lifting of the blackout was
announced by Hill in a second e-mail sent at 6pm on Sunday when he
informed them of the commemoration service taking place four hours
Hill’s e-mail said: “As this will be a public event, his
protection team accept the location of his holiday willbe reported. We
would like to thank you for your co-operation with our original request
and ask you to continue to exercise restraint in not revealing any more
specific details about his [Blair’s] location while he is in Barbados.”
had been criticised for not returning from holiday to attend the VJ
commemorations or the funeral of former foreign secretary Robin Cook.