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The BBC's Guto Harri
"Leaving their Tuscan villa to pose for just one round of press photographs"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Blairs face the cameras
The Blairs in Tuscany
Happy family: The Blairs pose for the press
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family have had their holiday photo-call in front of the world's media.

The annual photo shoot of the Blairs on holiday had originally been cancelled due to the prime minister's anger that pictures of his young son Leo's christening were published in the press without his or his wife's permission.

Tony Blair holds baby Leo
Holiday photo: Mr Blair with baby Leo

Mr Blair emerged carrying baby Leo and the six-strong family paraded before cameras for a few minutes before retreating to a villa where they are staying.

The Blairs, on holiday in Italy, have been criticised for their efforts to keep baby Leo out of the media spotlight by, among others, Spice Girls pop star Victoria Beckham.

Beckham outburst

Posh Spice said: "He only thinks it's a bad thing now it's happened to him - this sort of thing has been happening for years."

"All he was doing was walking into church with the baby going to the christening. That's nothing. Brooklyn [her son] was photographed on the front page totally naked.

"So imagine how I feel when he [Mr Blair] starts complaining." Posh Spice's outburst coincides with the release of her solo single next week.

Holidaying in peace

The Blairs have only agreed to the photo shoot on the condition that they will be left to enjoy the rest of their holiday without any media attention.

The family is staying at the 50-room villa owned by Prince Girolamo Strozzi, a newspaper proprietor and law professor at Florence University.

The house, outside San Gimignano, has a pool and gardens.

Blair in charge

The security is tight as more than 100 uniformed and plain-clothed police are on duty.

Mr Blair also faced criticism for using the Royal jet to travel for his holiday.

Government officials have emphasised that Mr Blair is still running the country even though he is on holiday.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister is the prime minister. Whether he is on holiday or in the office, he is still in charge."

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See also:

01 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Blair in holiday snaps U-turn
31 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Blair cancels holiday photo-shoot
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