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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Segway on Blair's list of gifts
The Presidents George Bush on matching Segways
George W Bush...before he fell off his Segway
A Segway personal transporter, a dagger and a musical box are among the more bizarre gifts showered on Tony Blair over the past year.

Other presents include an electric car from the president of Ferrari, "silver beakers" from Longley Park Sixth Form college and a "bronze fox".

But not all of Mr Blair's colleagues shared his good fortune. Deputy PM John Prescott has no gifts listed at all.

Ministers are obliged to declare presents worth more than 140.

Watches

Chancellor Gordon Brown only received one gift, a mobile phone from the government of Germany, the Cabinet Office list reveals, compared to Mr Blair's 24.

The most popular gift for the prime minister is a watch, with three being presented to him alone by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.

The Segway scooter, of the type George W Bush took a tumble on two years ago, was presented to the prime minister by the King of Jordan, while the bronze fox was presented by the government of Belgium.

The president of the Palestinian Authority gave Mr Blair a "nativity scene", while the government of Israel made Mr Blair a gift of "archaeological artefacts".

But it seems unlikely Mr Blair is zipping around his Downing Street apartment on his new Segway or sporting a row of expensive timepieces on each arm.

Most of the gifts are listed as being "held by the prime minister's office".

Nativity scene

Only three have been purchased by Mr Blair, including two watches, for 350, a gift from the government of Italy, a 145 brooch from the Czech government and a 175 porcelain dish from the government of Turkey.

Mr Blair's government colleagues failed to share in the gift bonanza, it seems, with pickings slim elsewhere in Westminster.

An unnamed minister of state at the culture department bought a boxed set of Beatles CDs for 194, after they were presented to the department by EMI.

But the minister clearly did not have the time to visit the cinema, returning an annual cinema card to VUE cinemas.

Former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was presented with a hamper by the ambassador to Bahrain.

Mr Hoon apparently cherry-picked 140 worth of the best items from the hamper before, in the dry language of the list, surrendering the remainder to the department.

An ornamental kite in a presentation box presented to Mr Hoon was, however, "held by the department".

An unnamed minister of state at the Foreign Office was presented with a pearl necklace by Sheika Fatima of Abu Dhabi.

But most departments and ministers, including then Home Secretary David Blunkett, Baroness Amos, leader of the House of Lords, and Peter Hain, then leader of the house of commons, received nothing worth more than 140.




SEE ALSO:
Bono's gift of a guitar to Blair
22 Jul 04 |  UK Politics



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