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UK Politics

No more guessing who came for dinner at Chequers

Prime Minister Tony Blair's meetings should be logged in detail on a publicly available register, a Liberal Democrat MP demanded yesterday.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat's Treasury spokesman, has written to Mr Blair asking for a register to be opened of all those that he and his ministers meet in the course of their duties.

Mr Lamb's move followed an 18-month campaign which ended with the Government publishing a list of Mr Blair's meetings at his country residence, Chequers, in Buckinghamshire.

The list revealed that Mr Blair used his country home as a venue to entertain showbiz personalities such as Des O'Connor, Everton FC chairman and Labour donor Bill Kenwright, and French luxury goods and tobacco tycoon Alain-Dominique Perrin.

Mr Lamb's campaign started when he asked a Parliamentary question on Mr Blair's Chequers meetings, which was answered only after the Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham intervened.

"The information I received raises some serious questions regarding the entertaining, at taxpayers' expense, of Labour Party donors and those such as tobacco baron Alain-Dominique Perrin," Mr Lamb said.

"A register would create greater transparency in Government," he said.