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Cherie Blair in yet another fee furore
This was not on the BBC either. But it was in the Sunday Times. And even more scathingly in the Sunday Telegraph. Cherie Blair nee Booth is off on a lecture tour of the US for which she is, yet again, charging rather large sums of money. At least this time she is to appear at a club where the wealthy members have a choice whether or not they buy these (expensive) tickets. In Australia last year she took a fee greater than a charity raised from her presence, and she had to be persuaded to return some of her free gifts.
The Sunday Times seems more concerned about her desire to make money, and the extent of the Blair families debts.
Cherie Blair, who has been accused before of abusing her position to make money, is billed as the “noted British attorney, human rights advocate and the wife of prime minister Tony Blair”.
It is not the first time that Blair has embarked on a lecture tour apparently to raise money. Public records show that the Blairs have mortgage debts of almost £4m, leaving them with repayments of about £16,000 a month. They are looking for a tenant for their London townhouse, which they bought in 2004 with a 95% mortgage of £3.4m.
While the Sunday Telegraph is more concerned with the reputation of the Everglades Club in Florida which, in the past, banned Jews and Blacks from membership. Whether the institution retains that prejudice is not clear from the article, and US readers will be able to comment on whether the reputation is deserved. The Sunday Telegraph is in no doubt about Mrs Blair herself.
Mrs Blair has told friends that she "needs the money" from her lectures to fund huge outgoings, particularly the £3,467,000 mortgage on the central London townhouse bought in 2004. She has been embroiled in controversy over offending Jewish people in the past. In 2002, she appeared to express sympathy for Palestinian suicide bombers within hours of an explosion in Jerusalem that killed at least 19 people.
She was forced to apologise after saying during a visit to a Palestinian medical charity in north London: "As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress."
In her speech this week, described in publicity material as "An Afternoon with Cherie Booth", Mrs Blair will discuss The Goldfish Bowl, the book about life in No 10 that she co-wrote with Lord Bragg's wife, Cate Haste. The Sunday Telegraph understands that Mrs Blair is being paid £30,000, or £750 per minute, for the 40-minute speech. Her talk will be followed by 20 minutes of questions from the audience. The society is also believed to be meeting the costs of her travel and accommodation.
Would you pay £750 a minute for this woman?