Cherie's lectures under threat as Number 10 is urged to rein her in

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Indy Politics

Cherie Blair is to learn next week whether she can continue travelling the world on the lucrative lecture circuit as Downing Street comes under pressure to rein her in.

The Prime Minister's wife was widely condemned for pocketing around £30,000 to deliver a 90-minute lecture in Washington on Tuesday.

No 10 yesterday declined to comment on a report that she has been asked to suspend her commercial activities while the current rules are "clarified". The Cabinet Office was similarly tight-lipped on whether it is reviewing the ministerial code of conduct.

The official Committee on Standards in Public Life is considering whether to investigate Mrs Blair's money-making activities.

Its chairman, Sir Alistair Graham, is expected to rule next week on whether it is to include spouses in an upcoming review of the code.

Chris Grayling, shadow Leader of the House, said he was confident that it would decide to limit Mrs Blair's ability to profit from her husband's position. "I think there is general understanding that this issue needs to be addressed now. It needs to be clear what the prime minister's spouse is or is not allowed to do."

The political fall-out from Mrs Blair's lecture trips shows little sign of abating as criticism of her spreads from tabloids as far as such sober organs as The Economist. In an article headed "Cherie on the make", it warns "any sensible prime ministerial consort would take care not to behave in a way that turned the electorate against their spouse".

The growing confusion between Mrs Blair's roles as consort and lecturer-for-hire is set to grow, however, as Downing Street finalises plans for a prime ministerial visit to Australia this summer.

Her conduct will also be discussed by the Metropolitan Police Authority later this month after she used a police outrider to collect her passport from Downing Street.

Mrs Blair, who was travelling in a private capacity, discovered she had forgotten the document on 22 May at Heathrow airport. It was delivered by a police sergeant. Richard Barnes, a Conservative authority member, says he will question Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair about claims police used sirens and blue lights in the dash.