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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2006, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Blair enjoys Games as tour begins
Nikki Hudson and the Blairs
The Blairs meet Australian hockey captain Nikki Hudson

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has started a three-country tour at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

He cheered on British athletes with wife Cherie on the final day of events.

Meanwhile at home, the Labour Party was facing greater scrutiny over secret loans from wealthy supporters.

Mr Blair is expected to hold talks on terror with Prime Minister John Howard and address the Australian parliament in the capital, Canberra.

I think you can see from a stadium like this what it would be like in London
Tony Blair

Ahead of those talks, the prime minister enjoyed the atmosphere of the games' finale and seemed to be taking tips for the Olympics Games in London on 2012.

He told the BBC: "It's an amazing atmosphere and an incredible stadium.

"You can see from a stadium like this what it would be like in London. It would be fantastic."

Cherie Blair at the Commonwealth Games
Cherie got into the party spirit

He will lobby for Glasgow to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

After the athletics Mr and Mrs Blair toured the competitors' village before they watched Australia beat Pakistan 3-0 for the hockey gold medal.

At home, his deputy was fending off accusations in Sunday papers linking him to the secret loans to the party.

John Prescott denied making planning decisions in favour of Minerva, a company chaired at various times by Labour lenders.

The Blairs will travel on to New Zealand and then to Indonesia later in the week.


SEE ALSO:
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