Tony Blair has been banned from staying in British embassies abroad for free when he is on private business.
The former prime minister – who has amassed a £60million fortune – stayed rent-free in British embassies in France and the US at the taxpayers’ expense on several occasions.
He was put up at the British ambassador’s official residence in Manila, on a visit to the Philippines, during which he pocketed almost £400,000 for two speeches.
He also stayed at the UK embassy in Tripoli when meeting Muammar Gaddafi, the then Libyan dictator, on private business.
But new Foreign Office guidelines will clamp down on ministers staying for free at British embassies and using diplomats to carry out their private commercial work.
Tony Blair and former ministers have been banned from staying for free at British embassies
Ex-ministers will now only be able to use embassies and staff if they are working on official business, the Sunday Telegraph revealed.
The disclosures were uncovered by Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, via a Freedom of Information request.
He had concerns Mr Blair was ‘continuing to enjoy UK government hospitality at the taxpayers’ expense while partaking in activities which were of a personal rather than a governmental nature.’
He found Mr Blair had stayed twice at the UK ambassador to the US in 2010.
The former Labour leader also allegedly lodged at the UK ambassador’s residence in Paris between 2008 and 2011.
On each trip, the 62-year-old perma-tanned ex PM was joined by up to six people, not counting his security team, and his group was not charged.
Although the FoI request had sought details for all countries Blair visited, the government only supplied information for 20 countries.
The Daily Telegraph previously revealed how Mr Blair had been put up at the British ambassador’s official residence in Manila and had also stayed at the UK embassy in Tripoli. Neither of these trips were included in the requests.
Mr Blair stayed at the UK embassy in Tripoli when meeting Muammar Gaddafi, the then Libyan dictator, on private business in 2007 (pictured)
Mr Blair had also stayed overnight at the British ambassador’s residence in Tripoli in 2009 during one of several trips to the country to see Gaddafi
Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary under Mr Blair, also asked the British ambassador in Ukraine in 2011 to set up a number of meetings with senior government figures there on behalf of a private client that pays him around £60,000 a year.
The ex-MP for Blackburn, was visiting with representatives of his client, ED&F Man, a commodities firm which was seeking changes to laws surrounding sugar production, the Telegraph reported.
A Whitehall source said: ‘It isn’t right that taxpayers should foot the bill for former prime ministers staying in ambassadors’ residences when they are visiting on private business.’
According to the FoI answer, the new Foreign and Commonwealth guidance states: ‘Former prime ministers and former ministers who seek logistical support as representatives of UK business must now submit requests through official UK Trade & Investment channels to ensure equal support is provided to UK companies.’
Responding to the allegations, a spokesman for the former prime minister, said: ‘Of the 20 countries for which information was requested between 2008-15, the FCO records show that Mr Blair stayed at the Embassies in the US and France, the last occasions being in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
‘As with other former Prime Ministers, Mr Blair has been invited to stay at Embassies, though for the majority of visits he would stay in a hotel. He was usually accompanied by one or two members of staff although when on visits related to his role as Quartet Representative, and where appropriate, FCO secondees to the OQR would be invited.
‘Tony Blair has been treated no differently from any other former PM and the notion that he has used these invitations for business reasons is absurd. He stays only at the express invitation of the Ambassador. In the case of both Paris and Washington DC he will have had political meetings as it is useful both for him and the Embassy to compare notes.’
A spokesman for Mr Straw added: ‘ED&F Man had been in touch with this embassy for some time, well before I became a consultant in April 2011.’
He said his approach was approved by the Advisory Committee on the Business Appointments of Former Ministers.