| 6.1°C Dublin

Tony Blair accused of breaking quarantine rules





Former British PM Tony Blair was last night accused of a "flagrant" breach of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK, after failing to self-isolate for a fortnight after a two-day trip to the US on a private jet.

UK newspapers have published pictures of Blair leaving a Mayfair restaurant, just 10 days after his return from Washington DC last month.

It is understood that Blair appealed to Whitehall officials for special dispensation from the Covid-19 rules, but was not issued with the formal exemption letter he would have needed to avoid the 14-day isolation period.

He claims he was advised to follow rules on attending "international conferences", having travelled to the US for a White House ceremony at which Israel signed deals to establish formal relations with Bahrain and the UAE.

But the "international conferences" exemption to the rules applies to diplomats, staff at international bodies such as the UN and formal representatives at international conferences who have been "granted privileges and immunities".

Tony Blair is considered a private person, having stepped down from his post-No 10 role as Middle East envoy in 2015.

A spokesman for Blair said he was invited because of the role he played in the agreement between Israel and the UAE, describing the ceremony as a "diplomatic conference".

The spokesman also insisted that Blair "posed no risk to anyone" as he was tested before his departure, on arrival at the White House, and again several times since returning to the UK.

In the UK, failing to follow rules on self-isolation leaves one liable for a stg£1,000 fine - but from over 4,000 referrals from public health authorities, only 38 people have been fined.


Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]

Most Watched