Sunday 25 February 2018

Blair 'arrest' bid played down

An attempt to arrest Tony Blair at a London restaurant has been played down by his spokesman.
An attempt to arrest Tony Blair at a London restaurant has been played down by his spokesman.

Tony Blair has played down an attempt by a bar worker to arrest him at a trendy London restaurant.

The former prime minister was reportedly approached by Twiggy Garcia while he was dining with family and friends at Tramshed in Shoreditch.

Mr Garcia told the politician he was making a citizen's arrest on the grounds that he was a "war criminal" who had launched an "unprovoked war against Iraq".

The barman told the Vice website: "I went over to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said: 'Mr Blair, this is a citizen's arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge'.

"He said: 'No, shouldn't you be worried about Syria?'

"Then he asked me: 'But don't you agree that Saddam was a brutal dictator and he needed to be removed?' and I replied 'not by an illegal war'."

Mr Garcia said Mr Blair's companions stepped in after he again asked the ex-premier to accompany him to a police station.

"One of his sons got up and went to get the plain clothes security from downstairs. I decided to get out of there sharpish, I've had a few run-ins with the police in the past and it never ends well."

Mr Garcia, who is also an aspiring music producer, said he had resigned from his job immediately.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "There is nothing to report here apart from fact that Mr Blair did offer to discuss the issue - that offer was declined and the individual walked off.

"Nothing else happened. Everyone is fine and they had a great time at the restaurant."

It is the latest in a series of run-ins between Mr Blair and opponents of the Iraq war. In 2012 a protester had to be removed from the Leveson inquiry after bursting in during the former Labour leader's evidence and accusing him of being a war criminal.

A spokeswoman for Tramshed declined to comment.

Mr Blair told CNN such episodes did not bother him.

"No they don't, b ecause I am aware of these decisions, having taken them in government, and they are extremely difficult," he said.

"If you intervene - as we did and removed on any basis a brutal dictator in Saddam who was responsible for hundreds of thousands of people dying - you end up with a very difficult set of consequences you have got to face up to.

"But if you don't intervene, as we see in Syria today, we are also facing very difficult consequences."

Press Association

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