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The BBC's Robin Oakley
"Police found him on the ground"
 real 28k

Chief Secretary of Parentline Dorritt Brown
"It is classic teenage rebellious behaviour"
 real 28k

Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Blair's son 'drunk and incapable'
Blairs
Euan, third from left, with the Blairs on a family holiday
Prime Minister Tony Blair's 16-year-old son Euan has been arrested for being drunk and incapable.

The teenager, who was celebrating the end of his GCSE exams, was found by police officers in Leicester Square, in London's West End, at about 2300 BST on Wednesday.


Euan, pictured at the age of 14
The incident comes just days after Tony Blair suggested on the spot fines for drunken and disorderly behaviour.

In a speech on Thursday, Mr Blair said being a father was tougher than being prime minister and "sometimes you don't always succeed".

An ambulance had to be called after Euan was discovered vomiting on the pavement, but paramedics decided there was no need for the teenager to go to hospital.

Instead, he was taken to Charing Cross police station where he initially gave his name as Euan John, gave an old address and told officers he was 18.


Being a prime minister can be a tough job and being a parent is probably tougher

Tony Blair
He was then searched and his true identity discovered.

Special Branch officers sent to the station confirmed he was Mr Blair's oldest son, and he was released without charge and driven home in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The prime minister had been up late writing a speech on opportunity and responsibility when he was told the news.

Tough job

Speaking about family and community values at a Faith in the Future conference in Brighton on Thursday, Mr Blair referred to the incident.

"The values that you represent are the values I hope that we all share - respect, tolerance, the family, trying to bring up children properly," he said.

"That part was written a short time ago," he added with a wry smile.


Euan was kept in a cell at Charing Cross police station
"Being a prime minister can be a tough job, being a parent is probably tougher, and sometimes you don't always succeed. But the family to me is more important than anything else."

He told his audience he had turned for comfort to a poem by Longfellow and quoted the lines, "For thine own purpose, thou has sent, The strife and the discouragement".

The Blairs will have to return to the police station with their son at a later date, when Euan could face a formal warning or a caution.

Downing Street issued a statement saying Euan was "very sorry".

It added: "He is in no doubt of the seriousness of it and the view that his parents take of it. They will of course fully co-operate with any further action the police propose to take."

The headmaster of Euan's school, the Oratory in London, said he would not be taking any disciplinary action.

John McIntosh said: "As far as I'm concerned it is a private matter, not a school matter because term has finished."

Westminster City Council is to carry out an investigation into underage drinking in pubs and bars around Leicester Square.

Disasters

The affair will be a huge embarrassment for Mr Blair.


The PM would be pleased when the day was over, said a spokesman
Political opponents will shrink from making capital over the family incident, but it caps a series of disasters for Mr Blair in recent weeks.

He has been heckled by the Women's Institute, attacked by former party fund raiser Ken Follett - and forced to drop his plans for on the spot fines for drunken louts.

On Wednesday he took a mauling in the Commons over the very issue of how police deal with drunken behaviour.

Mr Blair and his wife Cherie have gone to great lengths to protect the privacy of their children - Euan, Nicky, 14, Kathryn, 12, and baby Leo.

'No restriction'

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: "I think everybody in the country will have every sympathy with the Blair family.


Mr Blair's son was found vomiting in Leicester Square
"We all shared a great deal of happiness for them with the new baby arriving, and they are experiencing a slight domestic setback of a type which probably affects just about every home in the land," he said.

Mr Blair is due to appear on BBC 1's Question Time at 2230 on Thursday.

The incident comes two and a half years after Home Secretary Jack Straw's teenage son William was cautioned after being caught selling cannabis to a tabloid newspaper reporter.

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See also:

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Family misfortunes
01 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Police concern at yob fines
30 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Blair: Fine louts on the spot
05 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Questions over Blair's Commons blunders
03 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Blair backs down on fining 'louts'
14 Dec 98 | Health
The young risk their health
06 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Euan: Growing up at No.10
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