The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bliss at Blair home in time of war

London, April 6: The timing could not be worse for Tony Blair. While hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives are being ruined by the war, Tony and Cherie Blair have given outsiders a glimpse of their happy family life inside their charming home.

So also have actress-cum-model-cum-publicity junkie Liz Hurley and her son, Damian, one on Friday, who intend leading an equally happy family life at her new lavish home in the Cotswolds, with an accessory in the shape of Arun Nayar thrown in.

One man unable to join the game of happy families is James Major, son of the former Prime Minister, John Major. Following an alleged affair between his actress wife, Emma Noble, and an actor, it has now been disclosed that James is seeking solace and comfort by leaving his marital home and moving in with his parents.

But it is the home life of the Blairs which will attract the most comment. He meets President George W. Bush in Ireland tomorrow to discuss Iraq. Blair wants the United Nations to be top dog in post-Saddam Iraq, while Bush wants an American general to be in charge. Analysts in London predict that the two will compromise by letting Bush have his way.

Blair’s interview with She, a woman’s magazine, was done before the war started in February but it has just hit the stands. The interview is illustrated with photographs of Blair holding hands with Cherie or looking adoringly into her eyes. These pictures sit uneasily with his current role as a war time Prime Minister who has ordered 45,000 British servicemen and women into a bloody battle.

Blair reveals his idea of a perfect day. “I’d get up late-ish. Take some exercise, watch football, have a nice meal. Then watch a video with the kids. Yes, that would be perfect. And I’d take Leo out.”

It is unfortunate for him that heavily armed British and American troops are “taking out” Iraqi children, rather like his own — no doubt, unintentionally. The Daily Mirror has been publishing heart-rending pictures of broken Iraqi children laid out in hospital morgues.

“You know what children are like,” Blair tells She magazine. “Kathryn’s having a problem with her homework, or Leo wants to play. One of the advantages of living above ‘the shop’ (10 Downing Street) is that it’s easy to pop up during the day. Or Leo comes down.”

He paints a cute picture of little Leo. “I’ve got a fruit bowl in my office and he brings me fruit in a little trolley.”

Blair pays tribute to his wife and says he could not have done what he has without her support.

“Cherie is so important to me. I think the most important thing is that your partner has to be your friend. I don’t pretend my marriage is any better than anybody else’s though. I’m just very lucky.”

The Prime Minister admits that like many professional men it is hard getting the work-life balance right.

“With the older children, it was easier. I spent a lot of time with them. The toughest thing I’ve ever done, and people thought I was joking when I say this, is looking after kids of my own.”

He adds: “But do I get the work-life balance right' No, it’s difficult. With Leo, I have a great relationship. I adore him, completely adore him.”

In marked contrast, according to today’s Daily Mirror, one Iraqi who won’t be having much of a relationship with his daughter, Nadia, a bright, 33-year PhD psychology graduate, is her lorry driver Najem Khalaf.

The Mirror has rather spoiled Blair’s happy family caper by carrying a six-column picture across two pages of Khalaf pulling back a blanket to reveal the blood-stained face of his daughter, killed by a shell.

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