Would Coventry Welcome the Heir to Blair? INSIDE THE WORLD LesReid OF POLITICS

Article excerpt

JOBLESS Coventrians waiting in the reception of a city centre employment agency are immediately transported to another world - one of wealth, power and influence.

Inescapably facing them as they enter the Sarino Russo Job Access agency - hoping to improve their fortunes amid recession - are dominating photos of boss Ms Russo shaking hands with ex-Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, his barrister wife Cherie Blair, and ex-U.S. president Bill Clinton.

It is the same agency where the Blairs' 28-year-old son Euan has recently landed a new job, as we revealed yesterday.

The agency's corporate service manager, Lorette Smit, told me Australian Sarino Russo was a "close friend" of Cherie.

The pair was photographed by this newspaper three years ago during Cherie's visit to the firm's Coventry city centre office, the Australian company's UK HQ.

It may appear family connections may not have hurt Euan's chances, as in many walks of life. Even so, there is no evidence Blair junior did not land his new job as business development director on merit.

His CV shows he is not lacking in qualifications and experience, having studied at the London Oratory school, graduated in ancient history at Bristol University before taking an internship at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C, and reportedly working as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. We also revealed allegations from a senior local Labour Party source that staff working for Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson say the MP was approached personally by both Tony and Cherie Blair on their son's behalf.

It was alleged he was urged to invite Euan to Coventry Labour Party meetings, and get him involved.

The Blairs are no strangers to multi-millionaire Mr Robinson, having spent family summer holidays at his villa in Tuscany when dad was the PM and the Coventry MP served as a Treasury minister in the Blair government in the heady days after 1997's landslide Labour victory.

The rumour mill of Coventry politics has been in overdrive, and I was being tipped off that Euan Blair was being lined up for a shot at becoming a Coventry MP. Speculation was rife even before the 2010 general election that Coventry seats could become vacant, notably with the potential retirement of elder statesman Mr Robinson. …