US congressman with anti-gay voting record to be Euan Blair's mentor

David Dreier, the Republican congressman expected to mentor Tony Blair's eldest son Euan during a summer internship in Washington, is a hypocritical homosexual with an anti-gay voting record, critics allege.

During the election campaign last November, his Democrat opponent in California, Cynthia Matthews, came out as gay and urged her West Coast conservative rival, who idolised Ronald Reagan, to do the same.

One prominent LA publication outed him as gay and denounced him as a hypocrite. Mr Dreier, who is not married, has consistently refused to comment on his sexuality.

Like the British Prime Minister, Mr Dreier is attacked by both the left and right. The right, cajoled by a pair of conservative Los Angeles-area radio hosts, targeted him ahead of last year's election ­ his 13th time as a congressional candidate ­ for his relatively moderate stance on immigration. Voters were urged to "fire Dreier" and turn him into a "human sacrifice".

Mr Dreier is chairman of the House of Representatives Committee of Rules and an ally of the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 24 years in the House he has consistently advocated lower taxes and smaller government and a muscular foreign and national security policy. He is also endowed with distinctly Blairite talents ­ he is eloquent, highly telegenic and capable of presenting his positions in ways that make them sound rather less conservative than his voting record would suggest.

As Republicans go, he is among the more acceptable mentors for the son of a Labour prime minister. Given Mr Blair's close association with President Bush, it may also be significant that Mr Dreier is himself well-connected to the Bushes.

The decision to place Euan in his committee office has raised eyebrows for more straightforward political reasons. Eric Burns, a spokesman for the committee's senior Democrat, Louise Slaughter, said: "It is extremely surprising that the son of a Labour prime minister would intern with the Republican majority staff on the committee."

Downing Street declined to say when Euan will start his introduction to American politics after he graduates this summer from Bristol University with a degree in ancient history.

A spokesman for No 10 said: "Euan also hopes for a short unpaid internship with a Democrat member of Congress."