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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Drunken Euan rounds off Blair's awful week
The Blair family at the Remembrance Day ceremony
Cherie Blair watching over Euan (centre) Nicholas and Katherine in 1997
By BBC News Online's political correspondent Nick Assinder

You could have forgiven Tony Blair for going out and getting rolling drunk after his disastrous question time performance on Wednesday - but no one expected his 16-year-old son to come out in sympathy.

Mr Blair was already reeling from one of his worst weeks ever but, to cap it all, under-age Euan was later reeling in Leicester Square.

That alone would have been embarrassing enough for the prime minister - but it came only eight hours after he was ridiculed in the Commons for his suggestion that drunken louts should be hauled off by the police to the nearest cashpoint machine to pay an on-the-spot fine.

From all accounts, even if young Euan had a cashpoint card on him at the time, it is unlikely he would have been able to get it into a machine.

Of course, Euan's behaviour can be put down to normal, almost healthy, teenage antics - apart from the bit about lying to the police about his name, age and address which may have been a misguided attempt to spare his parents.

He had just finished sitting his GCSEs and had a good excuse to hit the town - not to mention the pavement.

And there is no suggestion Euan was being disorderly - he was just throwing up.

Hellfire and damnation

It is hugely unfortunate for him that he will now suffer the full glare of publicity for his lapse, simply because he is the prime minister's son.

It is a constant risk for politicians that their children will, by acting like normal youngsters, land them in deeply embarrassing situations.

It is even worse when there is the coincidence of the offspring's behaviour being in stark contrast to the standards publicly demanded by their parents.

And it was a coincidence of massive proportions that saw Euan getting legless just as his father was threatening hellfire and damnation for drunks.

Mr and Mrs Blair now face the further embarrassment of having to take their son back to the police station to face possible further action.

The prime minister will no doubt receive great sympathy from Home Secretary Jack Straw, whose own son William was caught selling cannabis to a newspaper reporter two and a half years ago.

At that time, because William was only 17, there was a legal row over whether he could be named.

But the Blairs have recognised that there is an interest in their son's behaviour and, despite their usual desire to protect the privacy of their children, have allowed details of the incident to be published.

Worse for wear

There is little doubt that the incident is painfully embarrassing for the Blairs and has helped round off a truly awful period for the prime minister.

It did not help that it came on the day Mr Blair was to address a conference of black evangelist churches in Brighton.

Of course, Euan is not the first son to embarrass his prime minister parent.

John Major's son, James, caused controversy by dating an older, divorced woman and was photographed looking the worse for wear during a night out.

And Mark Thatcher caused a stir after getting lost in the desert during a motor rally.

Meanwhile, the morning after the night before, Euan was no doubt nursing a monumental hangover and mulling over a mammoth telling off from his parents.

And Tony and Cherie Blair will hope that, like Jack Straw, most voters will sympathise with them as parents of a typical teenager.

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05 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Questions over Blair's Commons blunders
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