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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Home and away for Blairs
Blair family
The Blairs have favoured Tuscany for previous holidays
Tony Blair and his family are to spend part of their annual summer holiday in Britain this year, Downing Street has revealed.

It will be the first time since becoming prime minister that Mr Blair, his wife Cherie and their four children have stayed in this country.


The family is planning to spend part of their holiday in Britain

Downing Street spokesman
The news follows controversy over whether ministers should back the beleaguered British tourist industry by staying at home in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The English Tourism Council welcomed the news - and already holiday resorts around Britain are beginning to bid for the prime minister's custom.

A tourism council spokeswoman said: "If he chooses England, it will provide a much needed boost for English tourism in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis."

A Scottish Tourist Board spokesman said: "It's great news.

"The more that high profile people decide to stay here, the better for the tourism industry.

"Scotland is the best place to de-stress and after a general election like the one he's just been through, it will give him a great opportunity to put his feet up and relax."

'Perfect combination'

A Welsh Tourist Board spokeswoman said the principality could provide the Blairs with the "perfect combination of action, peace and tranquility".

"They would return to London feeling invigorated and rejuvenated.

"Wales is the perfect destination for a family holiday," she said.

Details of where the Blairs will be going is being kept under wraps.

But a spokesman for East Lindsey, which includes resorts like Skegness, in Lincolnshire, said the Blairs should go there.

"They are fun resorts that cater for everybody - he would meet all kinds of people and he would enjoy himself."

And Blackpool tourist chiefs were quick to pitch their resort at the Blairs.

They said they had posted the prime minister a holiday brochure in the hope he and his family would spend their break in the popular seaside destination.

A Downing Street spokesman said that the family would still go abroad for part of their vacation.

Still going abroad

"The family is planning to spend part of their holiday in Britain, but we will be setting out more details at a future date.

"It would be a logical step that another part would be abroad.

"It's a decision they have taken.

"They have decided this year to take part of their holiday in the UK."

The spokesman would not comment on suggestions that the move was a bid to boost British tourism in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Mr and Mrs Blair and their children Leo aged one, Kathryn 13, Nicky 16, and Euan 17, have spent holidays in Tuscany in the past.

There has been speculation that this year they might join Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar - a close political ally in the EU of Mr Blair - at a villa in Menorca.

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Summer hols
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See also:

04 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Blairs 'may swap Tuscany for Lakes'
05 Aug 99 | UK Politics
A beach of their own for Blairs
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