Blair's Support for Iraq War Will Mean Big Bucks; ANALYSIS

The Birmingham Post (England), May 10, 2007 | Go to article overview

Blair's Support for Iraq War Will Mean Big Bucks; ANALYSIS


Tony Blair's retirement as Prime Minister will leave him out of power, but in the money.

His departure from 10 Downing Street will open up earning opportunities on a scale which he was denied as long as he held political office.

Although his salary of pounds 187,611 - including his MP's wage of pounds 60,277, which he will keep - would be a fortune to most, it is a mere fraction of the sums he will now be able to command.

His memoirs are likely to be the subject of an international publishers' bidding war, with an eventual contract expected to be worth pounds 4 million or more.

And freedom from office gives him the opportunity to take to the lecture circuit in the US, where he will be able to earn anything up to pounds 100,000 a night talking to well-heeled audiences about his experiences and beliefs.

His undoubted oratorical brilliance and star quality will make him a bigger draw than any other foreign statesman in the US, where he is widely admired for his strong support for America in the wake of September 11.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested Mr Blair may kick off his career as an after-dinner speaker with a visit to Washington to pick up the Congressional Medal of Honour which he was awarded in 2003, but has so far not collected.

Departure from office will also open the doors to business boardrooms, where the prestige of his name on the letterhead - as well as access to his powers of persuasion and his unparalleled contacts book - will undoubtedly lead to offers of directorships.

There have been suggestions he will take up posts in City banks or follow his predecessor Sir John Major - who became European chairman of Washington's Carlyle Group after leaving office - into the world of private equity.

The Blairs are expected to move into the townhouse in Connaught Square which they bought for pounds 3.65 million in 2004 and which will provide them with an elegant central London base near Marble Arch.

Ironically, it is Cherie's money-making capacity that may suffer as a result of her husband's retirement, as she will command less on the lecture circuit as the wife of a former prime minister than as a current occupant of 10

Downing Street. …

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