A former Prime Minister is being accused of breaching coronavirus quarantine restrictions after returning from the USA.
Tony Blair denies claims that he failed to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK.
But the ex Labour leader was pictured leaving a London restaurant 10 days after returning from the two-day trip to Washington last month, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
A spokeswoman for Mr Blair said he had been told to follow guidance on ‘international conferences’, having been invited by US officials to attend a White House event held over the Israel-UAE peace deal.
Visit our live blog for the latest updates Coronavirus news live
The Telegraph reported that Mr Blair had asked Whitehall officials for exemption from the rules, but was not issued with a formal letter which would have allowed him to avoid the quarantine.
Yet the spokeswoman said: ‘He (Mr Blair) was not refused exemption by the UK Government,.
‘He was told to follow the guidance on international conferences which he did; the US Government had cleared the visit because it was for the diplomatic conference at the White House.
‘We believe he followed all UK and US government guidelines as advised.
‘Mr Blair was tested for Covid before departing the UK, on arrival at the White House, when he returned to the UK and has been tested several times since.’
The spokeswoman said all Covid-19 tests had been negative, adding that Mr Blair did not attend any other meetings during his trip.
Government guidance states that diplomats and representatives at international conferences are granted ‘privileges and immunities’, meaning they are not required to self-isolate if their work is confirmed as essential.
A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokeswoman said: ‘The FCDO provides travel exemptions to diplomats travelling on business relating to the interests of the UK, representatives of international organisations, and their families and dependents.
Tony Blair denies failing to isolate after eating out following US trip
'Wrong' to impose national lockdown on areas with low infection rates, says Gove
Are swimming pools open?
‘Those issued an exemption will not need to self-isolate.’
Mr Blair flew to Washington DC on September 14 and returned on September 16, according to the newspaper, which reported that he was seen leaving Harry’s Bar in Mayfair on September 26.
Conservative MP David Jones, a member of Parliament’s public administration committee, told the newspaper it was ‘hard to see’ how Mr Blair could rely on claiming he had been tested ‘when we haven’t got a testing regime’.
He said: ’It sets an appalling example to -travellers if a former prime minister appears to flout the rules in such a -flagrant manner.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
MORE: MPs did break 10pm curfew but Matt Hancock denies being among them