Invoice Clinton turned down tea with the Queen: 5 issues we discovered from newly declassified papers | UK Information

Invoice Clinton turned down an invite to have tea with the Queen as a result of he “wished to be a vacationer” in London, newly launched official papers present.

The US president was visiting the UK in 1997 – 4 weeks after Tony Blair got here to energy – and stated he wished to hit the retailers and eat Indian meals.

Beforehand categorised paperwork present Mr Clinton, Mr Blair and their wives Hillary and Cherie ended up eating at a French restaurant in London Bridge – full with beer and positive wine.

The Clintons and the Blairs headed for dinner instead
The Clintons and the Blairs headed for dinner as an alternative

Memos between Whitehall aides present Mr Clinton was invited to Buckingham Palace to 5pm tea.

However a letter written by Downing Avenue non-public secretary Philip Barton stated: “The People stated that the president and Mrs Clinton had been very grateful for HM The Queen’s invitation to tea on the palace, however would want to decline politely.”

The restaurant invoice racked up by the Blairs and Clintons can also be among the many sequence of recordsdata launched by the Nationwide Archives in Kew, courting again to Mr Blair’s first few months in authorities.

They spent a complete of £298.86 at Le Pont de La Tour – and the invoice featured £20 wild salmon, £19.50 grilled sole, £18 halibut, a £2.95 Budvar beer, and a bottle of Mas de Duamas 1995 wine priced at £34.75.

Tensions were high between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair's aides
Tensions had been excessive between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair’s aides

Blair and Brown tensions

The newest tranche of official papers from 1997 additionally reveals that Mr Blair’s aides wished Gordon Brown‘s spin physician “out on his ear” amid fears that unauthorised briefings had been damaging the brand new Labour authorities.

Recordsdata recommend officers struggled to handle tensions between the administration’s two most dominant figures proper from their early days in workplace.

Peter Mandelson – one in all Mr Blair’s ministers – repeatedly complained in regards to the actions of Charles Whelan, who served as Mr Brown’s press secretary.

Mr Whelan was accused of planting a sequence of hostile tales about Mr Mandelson that had been making the federal government “look silly, and worse”.

A frank be aware written to Mr Blair additionally steered that Mr Brown was utilizing his chairmanship of cupboard committees to “bludgeon by means of” his personal insurance policies.

A referendum on Scottish devolution was held in 1997
A referendum on Scottish devolution was held in 1997

Scottish independence worries

The now-unclassified paperwork from 1997 additionally present that Downing Avenue advisers had conceded that Scotland may have a referendum on “something it needs” with out Westminster’s consent.

Even again then, key aides to the prime minister stated “a few very fearful Scottish MPs” had been involved about “the slippery slope to independence”.

Scotland voted in favour of devolution in September 1997, with Labour pledging that the nation would be capable to arrange its personal parliament answerable for schooling, well being, transport and different issues.

It was not till 2014 that an independence referendum was held, with 55% voting towards proposals for Scotland to interrupt away from the remainder of the UK.

Tony Blair greets well-wishers at Downing Street after winning the 1997 election
Tony Blair greets well-wishers at Downing Avenue after successful the 1997 election

Blair’s Irish famine message ‘written by aides’

The paperwork additionally reveal that Mr Blair’s headline-grabbing admission that the British authorities was culpable for the Irish Famine was truly swiftly ghost-written by his aides.

On the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary commemoration in Cork, a message was learn on the prime minister’s behalf that stated: “That a million folks ought to have died in what was then a part of the richest and strongest nation on the planet is one thing that also causes ache as we replicate on it right now.

“Those that ruled in London on the time failed their folks by means of standing by whereas a crop failure became a large human tragedy.”

A request from remarks from Mr Blair was made on the final minute, they usually had been authorised by his non-public secretary as a result of the prime minister was “not round on the time”.

The Millennium Dome cost £758m and opened on 31 December 1999
The Millennium Dome value £758m and opened on 31 December 1999

Millennium Dome may have been tribute to Diana

Data additionally reveal that plans had been thought of to make the Millennium Dome a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales – and likewise confronted the prospect of being scrapped altogether.

In accordance with the PM’s director of communications Alastair Campbell, a member of the Dome’s board had proposed that the “Millennium undertaking be fully refashioned, the location prolonged, to accommodate, for instance, a hospital, companies, charities, non-public residences, and the entire thing named ‘the Princess Diana Centre’.”

Individually, one in all Mr Blair’s aides stated: “Diana’s demise may give us a semi-plausible excuse to cancel.”

The attraction value £758m and opened on 31 December 1999, nevertheless it solely drew 6.5 million guests in 2000 – far fewer than the 12 million that had been budgeted for.

It was later closed and changed with The O2, which has hosted concert events, sporting occasions and different leisure since 2007.

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