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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Labour defends Cherie's hair bill
Cherie Blair's hair dos and don'ts

Labour has defended Cherie Blair over a 7,700 bill for a personal hair stylist during the last election campaign.

The money was paid for Mrs Blair's personal hairdresser to keep her immaculately groomed during her husband's election campaign in 2005.

Tory leader David Cameron said his barber cost him a good deal less but Labour Party bills were not his worry.

A Labour spokeswoman said: "So what?," adding Mrs Blair had visited 50 seats and Labour had won the election.

According to the figures, Mrs Blair's hairstyling cost 275 per day for the month leading up to the election.

First lady?

The prime minister's official spokesman said Mrs Blair paid her own hairdressing bills when she accompanied Mr Blair on government business, such as foreign trips.

Sandra Howard
The Tories say Sandra Howard spent less on her hair

But the fact that the Labour Party had to foot the bill when she appeared at its events has angered some in the party.

Ex-minister Peter Kilfoyle told the newspaper the hairdressing bill was twice what he had spent on his election campaign in the Liverpool Walton seat.

"This is the problem. We are almost accepting by stealth a First Lady," he told the Times.

But a Labour spokeswoman said: "So what? Mrs Blair worked fantastically hard during the election and visited more than 50 constituencies during the campaign.

"She is enormously popular with the party and, don't forget, we won the election."

Lower profile

An invoice from Andre Suard, a stylist at Michaeljohn, is understood to have been declared to the Electoral Commission as an electoral expense.

Mr Suard is thought to have charged a daily rate of 275 for acting as "hair stylist for Cherie Blair between 6 April and 8 May, the day Mr Blair won an historic third term in government.

Mrs Blair was campaigning up until polling day, but largely followed a separate itinerary to Mr Blair, keeping a lower profile than Michael Howard's wife Sandra, who rarely left the then Tory leader's side.

A Conservative spokesman has told the BBC Mrs Howard had recouped 65 for a hair-do at the beginning of the 2005 election campaign.

The spokesman said this made an "interesting contrast" with Mrs Blair.

Commenting on the row, David Cameron, who is on a fact finding mission in Norway, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I have many problems and things to worry about but the Labour Party's bills frankly aren't one of them. Certainly my own haircutting bills I think probably are a lot less than that."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Scenes of the Blairs after last year's election win



SEE ALSO:
Blairs' family life under spotlight
18 Jan 06 |  UK Politics
Cherie rules out political career
23 Dec 05 |  UK Politics
Blair declares Cherie's earnings
16 Nov 05 |  UK Politics


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