Election '97: Blair flies in Fayed helicopter

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The Independent Online
Tony Blair yesterday flew from London to Derby in a helicopter owned by the proprietor of Harrods, Mohamed al Fayed, the man at the heart of the "cash-for- questions" allegations.

Three weeks ago, the Labour leader threw his campaign schedule into chaos to avoid a potentially embarrassing meeting with Mr Fayed by refraining from boarding his campaign helicopter at Battersea Heliport in south London until the Harrods supremo had landed in his and been whisked away.

Mr Blair's delay that day came when his press secretary, Alastair Campbell, spotted two photographers on the tarmac. They had learnt that Mr Fayed's aircraft was due to land, just as Mr Blair was due to board his Cab Air Squirrel bound for a visit to a school in Redditch, Hereford and Worcester.

A Labour source said yesterday that a leasing company, Jet Air, hired the machines which were owned by other people, and one belonged to Harrods. The source insisted that Mr Blair had been unaware of who owned the helicopter.

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