An identity crisis for Blair: Former PM describes Jerusalem as 'home'

Mail Online | April 12, 2009
By Simon Walters

Tony Blair has always tried to present himself as a visionary leader when he talks about his twin passions: politics and religion.

But judging from his entry in the VIP visitors’ guest book at the British Embassy in Washington during a recent trip to the US, his role as a Middle East peace envoy may have led to a mid-life identity crisis.

His signature is there but where guests are invited to state their ‘home’ Mr Blair wrote ‘Jerusalem’.

The former Primer Minister does not own anything that could be described as a home in the Middle East.

He is said to spend an average of one week a month at the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem, despite local officials insisting that his visits are less frequent.

Indeed, The Mail on Sunday can disclose that he faces growing criticism from senior figures at the United Nations for not spending enough time on his role as head of the Quartet, the foursome of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN tasked with building peace in the Middle East.

They say they are unhappy about the time Mr Blair devotes to the lucrative international lecture circuit and to lobbying to become the first permanent president of the EU.

The position will be created if Ireland votes ‘yes’ to the Lisbon Treaty this autumn.

Mr Blair’s signature was left in the embassy guest book on January 14 when he was collecting the presidential medal of freedom from George Bush.

The bizarre entry will also increase speculation about Mr Blair’s domestic arrangements. Asked during an interview in January how often he manages to see

Cherie and his eight-year-old son, Leo, he replied: ‘Not nearly as much as I should.

The Blairs have two homes in the UK, a £3.6million townhouse in London’s Connaught Square and a Buckinghamshire mansion bought last year for £4million.

A spokesman for Tony Blair would not say why he had written ‘Jerusalem’.

He said: ‘Mr Blair’s role in the Middle East continues to take up the largest proportion of his time. On the EU presidency, there is no campaign and no campaign team. The job doesn’t even exist yet. Mr Blair is fully focused on his role in the Middle East.’