Blairs wine and dine celebrities

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Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are among the high-profile figures from the world of arts and entertainment on a new list of guests entertained by Tony Blair at Chequers.

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are among the high-profile figures from the world of arts and entertainment on a new list of guests entertained by Tony Blair at Chequers.

Published by the Cabinet Office under freedom of information laws, the documents show the married chat show hosts had already eaten at the Prime Minister's country residence in Buckinghamshire before he appeared on the Richard & Judy show. Their interview in February last year was widely panned and the couple criticised for their fawning attitude towards Mr Blair.

It has now emerged the couple accepted an invitation to Chequers on 17 May 2003, where their fellow guests that Saturday night included the actor Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British ambassador to the US, and Peter Hain. The publication of the list of Tony's "friends" who have been entertained at the expense of the taxpayer follows repeated demands from Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP.

The document includes the details of a dinner reception on 5 September 1998 when David Bowie and his wife, Iman, were entertained along with Lord Callaghan, the former Labour prime minister who died earlier this year, Bill Morris, the union leader, Lord Carey, who was then the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the science minister Lord Sainsbury, who is also a Labour donor.

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