The cost of Cherie Blair not having a bad hair day during the run-up to last year's general election? £7,700, according to the Labour Party's electoral expenses.
The Prime Minister's wife made the party pay £275 a day for the services of her hair stylist between 6 April and 6 May, when her husband won a third term for Labour. Invoices from the Mayfair stylist Andre Suard - headed "hair styling for Cherie Blair" - are declared as an electoral expense in Labour's accounts for 2005 submitted to the Electoral Commission watchdog.
Few party activists would have wanted a repeat of the birds'-nest-style mullet Mrs Blair sported the morning after Labour won power in May 1997. But the revelation is likely to spark fury in some ranks, particularly as Labour was so cash-strapped it resorted to borrowing £14m from businessmen to stave off a pre-election cash crisis - the loans that have led to the ongoing "cash for peerages" row being investigated by Scotland Yard. Labour has also been forced to put up its headquarters for sale.
The Labour Party defended footing the bill. "So what?" said a spokesman. "Mrs Blair worked fantastically hard during the election and visited more than 50 constituencies during the campaign. She is enormously popular with the party and, don't forget, we won the election."
That popularity was not obvious in Liverpool Walton, where MP Peter Kilfoyle protested the bill was twice the sum spent on his election campaign - a pattern mirrored in many Labour seats in the UK.Reuse content