Who's who on the new guest list at Chequers? (It helps if you are highbrow)

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Indy Politics

What a difference a year makes. While Tony Blair invited a plethora of stars from the worlds of sport and television to his country house retreat at Chequers, his successor prefers the company of wealthy businessmen and highbrow figures from the arts.

The guest list at Chequers during Mr Blair's final months in office included radio disc jockeys, prime time game show presenters, sports stars and pop singers. Mr Brown, by contrast, has displayed a more high-minded attitude to entertaining since he received the keys to the Prime Minister's Buckinghamshire estate last year. His invitations have gone out to notable architects, writers, and captains of industry and commerce, the latest "Chequers list" released by the Government shows.

And while both men are fond of calling members of the journalistic elite to their weekend home, Mr Brown has been far more willing to open his doors to colleagues from the Government and Parliament than his predecessor was during his final months.

Tony Blair's dinner parties at Chequers became legendary in Westminster as he invited a string of household names to sit round his dinner table. They included the singer Charlotte Church and her partner, the Wales rugby union player Gavin Henson, and the television presenters Richard Madeley, Lorraine Kelly, Fiona Phillips and June Sarpong. The radio disc jockeys Chris Evans and Vernon Kay, and Kay's wife, Tess Daley, the presenter of Strictly Come Dancing, also dined at the Buckinghamshire retreat as well as the former England football manager Steve McClaren.

Mr Brown invited the television naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran, the architects Zaha Hadid, Lord Foster and Lord Rogers and the playwright Sir Tom Stoppard.

Other guests included the surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, the former head of the US Federal Reserve Sir Alan Greenspan, the best-selling historian Lady Antonia Fraser and Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House. The editors of The Sun, The Mirror, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Independent also received invitations.

Mr Brown's guest lists are also peppered with wealthy business leaders. He has dined with the Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, the financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, the entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, and the multimillionaire private equity boss Damon Buffini.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP who first forced the Chequers guest list to be published three years ago, attacked Mr Brown for failing to release details of all his meetings. "Gone are the B-list celebs, the television stars and the pop singers. But there is still a lot of money there, a lot of people with substantial amounts of money," he said.

Also released yesterday in a flurry of announcements hours before MPs departed on their summer break were details of Mr Blair and Mr Brown's extensive travels around the world.

While Mr Blair ended a tour of the world during his final months in power with an audience with the Pope, the first date in Mr Brown's diary was the more mundane matter of discussing European affairs with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Mr Blair spent more than £700,000 on his farewell travels around the globe after announcing he was standing down as Prime Minister last year.

Gordon Brown spent £951,000 on flights during his first year in power.

As his days in office approached an end, Mr Blair notched up visits to 13 countries on three continents. The most expensive, at £319,100, was a four-day tour in May last year that took in Washington, Kuwait, Baghdad and Basra.

Mr Brown's travels since arriving in Downing Street have cost close to £1m, with £419,700 accounted for by visits to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ironically given Mr Blair's reputation for spin, it was Gordon Brown who faced criticism yesterday for increasing the number of government special advisers working in Whitehall. Altogether, the number of spin doctors and other ministerial aides has risen to 73 from 68 last November, while the cost increased to £5.9m.

The shadow Pensions Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: "It looks as if Tony Blair's farewell tour was a huge vanity affair paid for by the taxpayer. Frankly, the money could have been spent in a better way. At least we have the comfort in knowing there won't need to be a farewell tour for Gordon Brown."

Dinner with Brown...

Lord Richard Atlenborough CBE

Lady Attenborough

Ian Austin MR

Rt. Hon. Ed Balls MP

Caroline Benn

Rt. Hon. Hilary Benn MP

James Benn

Jonathan Benn

Michael Benn

Sally Berm

Tracy Bews

Sir Victor Blank

Lady Blank

Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MR

Lady Joan Branson

Sir Richard Branson

Charlie Brooks

Damon Buffini

Debbie Buffini

Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham MR

Camilla Bustani

Bruce Byron

Dr. Tanya Byron

Stephen Carter CBE

Sir William Castell

Lady Castell

Nancy Claire

Sir Terence Conran

Lady Conran

Rt. Hon. Yvette Cooper MP

Jamie Cooper-Hahn

Dan Corry

Richard Curtis CBE

Kathy Dacre

Paul Dacre

Rt. Hon. Alistair Darling MP

Maggie Darling





Lord Darzi

Lady Darzi

Gavyn Davies OBE

Jeanne Davies

Mervyn Davies

Clarede Lore

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild

Lady de Rothschild

Ed Denham

Rt. Hon. John Denham MP

Rose Denham

HRH the Duke of York

Lady Dyson

Sir James Dyson CBE

Howard Exton-Smith

Lady Foster

Lord Foster

Lady Antonia Fraser CBE

Emma Freud

Derek Gadd

Danyele Gamier

Dr. Jean Pierre Gamier

Anna Gorman

Jay Green

Stephen Green

Alan Greenspan (Hon. KBE)

Sabrinà Guinness

Zaha Hadid CBE

Cyn Hall

Tony Hall CBE

Mike Halsall

Martin Halusa

Lady Hamlyn

Lady Hampton

Sir Philip Hampton

Rev. James Harding

Rt. hon. Baroness Hayman

Martin Hayman

Tony Hayward

Mrs. Hayward

Stuart Hercock

Les Hinton

Chris Hohrl

Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP

Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP

LauraJohnson

Lord Jones

Kirsty Jones

Nick Jones

Pat Jones

Ella Joseph

Gavin Kelly

Rt. Hon. Ruth Kelly MP

Simon Kelner

Lady Kinnock

Lord Kinnock

Sir Richard Lambert

Lady Lambert

Sally Ann Lasson

Lady Leahy

Sir Terry Leahy

Kathy Lette

Lady Sue Littiemore

Lady Lyons

Sir Michael Lyons

Lindsay Mackie

Lord Malloch Brown

Lady Malloch Brown

Sir George Martin

Lady Martin

Elsa McAlonan

Heather McGregor

Rt. Hon. Don McKinnon

Murdoch McLennan

Cath Miles

Andrea Mitchell

Piers Morgan

Alison Myners

Paul Myners CBE

Sandy Nairne

Indra Nooyi

Sue Nye

Sir Gus O'Donnell

Lady O'Donnell

Hon. James Ogilvy

Julia Ogilvy

Aurelian O'Rourke

Lucy O'Rourke

Sir John Parker

Lady Parker

Lucy Parker

Julia Paton

Richard North Patterson

Alice Perkins CB

Rt. Hon. James Purnell MP

Kath Raymond

Dinah Roake

Geoffrey Robertson QC

Lady Rogers

Lord Rogers

Ruthie Rogers

Lady Rose

Sir John Rose

Sir Stuart Rose

Lady Rothermere

Lord Rothermere

Baroness Jan Royall

Alan Rusbridger

Lady Sainsbury

Lord Sainsbury

Arun Sarin

Rummi Sarin

Albert Scardino

Dame Marjorie Scardino

Angela E Smith MP

Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith MP

Nigel Smith

Terry Smith

Sir Tom Stoppard

Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP

John Studzinski

Sir Alan Sugar

Lady Sugar

Lisa Tickner

Lynda Till

Stewart Till CBE

Richard Timney

Baroness Vadera

Mrs. Marie-France van Heel

Rebekah Wade

Celia Walden

Lucy Walker

Richard Wallace

Kate Weinberg

Lady West

Lord West

Jasmine Whitbread

Bob Wigley

Sarah Wigley

Jill Wills

Michael Wills MP

Stewart Wood

Marienne Yacoub

Professor Yacoub

Baroness Young

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