Last month Steerpike reported news that Tony Blair was plotting a return to Parliament. One of the many unwanted consequences of Covid was the former Prime Minister's return to the spotlight, in part due to the work of his eponymous institute on issues like mass testing and vaccines. With polls suggesting that members of Starmer's Labour now view their party's ex-leader in a more favourable light, could a 'de Gaulle-style comeback' be on the cards?
Alas, the onetime premier – whose years out of office have been peppered with various gigs including JP Morgan, Zurich and UI Energy – appears to have now concluded that life as a septuagenarian backbencher is not for him. According to last week's Sunday Times, members of his old team told him that the idea, spearheaded by arch-Remainiac Lord Adonis, of a Labour comeback or an En Marche! style breakaway was 'bonkers.' At least it means poor Keir Starmer won't have to worry about an imminent challenge coming from his right flank.
Instead it appears that Blair has returned to a different role, one more attuned to his skills since leaving office: making money. Documents filed on Companies House this week show both he and wife Cherie have registered themselves as 'persons with significant control' of their property firm Harcourt Ventures. The couple set up the company in 2017 to expand their multimillion-pound portfolio of properties at a time when they already owned 38 homes worth an estimated £33 million.
Harcourt's most recent accounts record assets of £7.25 million with £3.69 million owed to creditors. Even better for the Blairs, the bulk of the £3.69 million owed to said 'creditors' is in the form of £3.25 million payments in 'amounts owed to related parties.' This include £2.62 million to the company's sole director (Cherie) and a £629,000 payment to a partnership of which Mrs Blair is a member. Nice work if you can get it.
Lawyer, politician, banker, landlord – at least Tony isn't courting popularity in his choice of roles.