Musical beds for Cabinet
Chris Blackhurst writes regular columns for The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, and conducts weekly interviews for London Live TV. Blackhurst was City Editor of the Evening Standard for nine years, before becoming Editor of The Independent for two years. He was then promoted to Group Content Director, and in September 2014 he took on the multi-media business role. He’s won numerous awards for his journalism.
Sunday 04 May 1997
This appeared to be the most likely domestic arrangement of the Blairs and Gordon Brown in the years ahead in Downing Street. After visiting the flat above No 10 with their children on Friday, the Blairs decided it was unsuitable for family living.
Cherie Blair, who was briefed by officials two weeks ago on the lay-out of No 11, official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is understood to be more taken with the house next door. It has its own front door, bags more room and plenty of space for the children's skateboards and bikes. The family can have a semblance of privacy there and the children can make as much noise as they want. Mr Brown, a bachelor, does not need the bedrooms, he has a huge office nearby in the Treasury and he appears happy to take the No 10 flat.
There again, the Blairs may continue to live in Islington, in north London. The drawback is the extra security the new Prime Minister and his family will now require. Police have told them the road could be sealed off and they could check everyone coming and going, but this will not endear them to neighbours who have had to endure three years of photographers and reporters.
They may even choose to buy a home closer to Downing Street, but given central London property prices they would be hard-pressed, even on Cherie's barrister earnings and his new salary, to afford anything big enough.
The Blairs have yet to spend a night at Downing Street, having returned to Islington after their tour on Friday. Such a difficult decision was doubtless discussed over his first supper as Prime Minister: salmon and asparagus salad from one of their favourite restaurants, the River Cafe in Hammersmith, west London. They were also sent a copy of the new River Cafe cook book, which continues its exclusive serialisation in today's Sunday Review.
While the Blairs debated, colleagues sorted out their own accommodation. Jack Straw, the new Home Secretary, will remain at his Pimlico family home, eschewing the high-security flat that normally goes with the job, in South Eaton Place. This will now go to Mo Mowlam, the new Northern Ireland Secretary.
John Prescott and Margaret Beckett will take up the flats that go with their new posts, in Admiralty House. Robin Cook, the new Foreign Secretary, will have the traditional houses at Carlton House Terrace and at Chevening in the country.
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...