Postcard from Tuscany: Wish you weren't here...

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Indy Politics

The smiles were through gritted teeth and the silence was eerie but the world's press finally got what they wanted yesterday when the Prime Minister posed with his family on holiday in Tuscany.

The smiles were through gritted teeth and the silence was eerie but the world's press finally got what they wanted yesterday when the Prime Minister posed with his family on holiday in Tuscany.

The Picture They Tried To Ban showed baby Leo sporting a sunhat as his brothers, sister, mother and father all made plain their uneasiness in front of the paparazzi.

Having issued strict instructions that only photographers, not reporters, could attend the photo-call, Downing Street insisted no one could shout questions to the subjects. As a result, three minutes of strained silence followed.

Some 50 members of the British and Italian media were watched by a small army of Italian police and special branch officers as the Blairs posed at the villa of Prince Girolamo Strozzi near San Gimignano.

The photocall was at one point cancelled last week in protest at newspapers publishing unauthorised snaps of Leo at his christening. It was reinstated after the intervention of Lord Wakeham, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. The photocall was reinstated after Lord Wakeham ruled that if it went ahead shortly after the Blairs' arrival in Italy, and the media then left the family alone, that would strike a balance between legitimate privacy and legitimate public interest.

Only photographers and television cameramen were allowed into the courtyard of the hilltop property, although a few reporters gained entry by slinging cameras over their shoulders.

The Blairs will spend two weeks in Tuscany.

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