Blairs to take summer holiday in Britain

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Tony Blair is to break with family tradition and spend part of his holiday in Britain this year in an attempt to boost the struggling tourist industry after the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

It will be the first time since becoming Prime Minister that Mr Blair, his wife Cherie and their children have holidayed in the UK. Last year they divided their time between Tuscany and the south of France.

His official spokesman gave no details of where or when the summer break would take place, and added the family would also go abroad for some time. He would only say: "The family is planning to spend part of their holiday in Britain, but we will be setting out more details at a future date."

Tourism chiefs predicted the family was likely to choose the Lake District or the West Country, both heavily hit by foot-and-mouth. A spokesman for the English Tourism Council said: "If he wants to boost tourism, picking a rural area would make sense."

There also has been speculation that they could return to Italy next month, or join the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, in Menorca.