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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 19:16 GMT 20:16 UK
Cherie Blair suffers miscarriage
Cherie and Tony Blair pictured last week
Cherie and Tony Blair pictured last week in Cumbria
Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair has been treated in hospital following a miscarriage.

Mrs Blair, 47, was admitted to hospital after being taken ill in Downing Street on Monday night and was discharged on Tuesday morning following an operation.

Tony Blair was with his wife and Mrs Blair is now resting at the Prime Minister's country retreat, Chequers.

The couple have delayed their departure for a holiday in France, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
Flowers from wellwishers
Flowers from wellwishers are delivered to Downing Street

Mrs Blair gave birth to the couple's fourth child Leo in May 2000. He was the first baby born to a British prime minister for more than a century.

Leo is understood to be with the older children, Euan, Nicky and Kathryn, in France with Cherie's mother Gale.

Quiet holiday

Downing Street said the couple wanted to thank staff at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, where the operation took place under general anaesthetic, for their support and care.

Mrs Blair came through the operation successfully and is resting and will join the rest of the family later in France for what they hope will be a quiet holiday, then spokesman said.
Tony and Cherie Blair with baby Leo in 2001
Tony and Cherie Blair with baby Leo in 2001

Downing Street added that, while they understood the inevitable interest, they hoped the media would allow the Prime Minister and his family to enjoy as normal a family holiday as possible.

Mrs Blair, who will be 48 next month, is understood to have known that she was pregnant.

Lunch with Leo

The Blairs spent the end of last week and the weekend in the North West, attending the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Sunday evening.

Facing the media on Friday, Mrs Blair looked relaxed and happy in St Bees, Cumbria, with her husband.

Cherie and Tony Blair at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony
The Blairs at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday
She fielded questions from reporters while posing for pictures as she sheltered under a large umbrella held by Mr Blair.

The Prime Minister's wife was dressed in just a summer jacket, blouse and white trousers.

She said she had enjoyed a pub lunch with Leo and had been to see a bird of prey show.

At the closing ceremony of the games in Manchester Mrs Blair wore a plastic rain mac - but her spirits were not dampened as she clapped and sang along with the other 38,000 spectators at the stadium.

Messages

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said: "I am very sorry to hear the news for Tony and Cherie and hope people will respect their privacy."

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and his wife Betsy sent flowers to Downing Street with a note wishing Mrs Blair a full recovery.

A spokeswoman for Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: "Charles Kennedy is still on his honeymoon but I know he will be shocked and saddened by what has happened and would want to offer the Prime Minister his deepest sympathy and condolences.

"This is a desperately painful thing to happen to the Blairs and Mr Kennedy would also want to wish Mrs Blair as speedy a recovery as possible."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Health Correspondent Karen Allen reports
"Cherie Blair is understood to have known she was pregnant"
Political Correspondent Mark Mardell:
"Downing Streeet say she's now resting"
See also:

06 Aug 02 | Politics
21 May 00 | UK
06 Aug 02 | Health

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