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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February 2005, 09:47 GMT
Chequers dinner guests revealed
Chequers
Luminaries from sporting and acting worlds have dined at Chequers
More than 300 highfliers dined at Chequers in the four years after Labour came to power, documents have shown.

The official dinners were held at the prime minister's Buckinghamshire residence between 1997 and June 2001.

Screenwriter Richard Curtis, football manager Kevin Keegan and tycoon Richard Branson were among those who enjoyed the tax-payer funded hospitality.

The documents were released at the request of Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb under the new Freedom of Information Act.

'Security risk'

They also show a number of Labour donors, including Lord Hamlyn, who has given the party 1 million, and Lord Sainsbury who has donated 4.5 million, have also dined there.

Several journalists are shown to have dined with the Blairs including BBC political editor Andrew Marr and his wife, Guardian columnist Jackie Ashley; BBC Radio 4's Today programme presenter James Naughtie; Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger; ex-Express editor Rosie Boycott and Les Hinton, chief of News International in the UK.

From the stage and screen, the prime minister hosted the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Helen Mirren, Prunella Scales and husband Timothy West, and comic Dawn French and husband Lenny Henry.

Pop stars included Sting, Sir Elton John, Bono and David Bowie.

A list of dinner guests for June 2001 to April 2003 has already been released but a further breakdown was rejected by officials because it could demonstrate a "regular pattern of appointments" which might pose a security risk.


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