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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair appears to break two week quarantine

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair appears to break two week quarantine rules after being photographed at a London club 10 days after returning from US for White House event

  • Tony Blair, 67, was pictured at Harry’s Bar in London’s Mayfair last month
  • The photographs came less than two weeks after he returned from the US
  • A spokesman said Mr Blair had ‘followed all UK and US guidelines as advised’ 
  • He was invited to an ‘international conference’ at the White House in September 

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has been accused of breaking the two-week quarantine rules after he was photographed at a London club 10 days after a trip to the US.

Mr Blair, 67, was pictured at Harry’s Bar in London’s Mayfair less than two weeks after returning from a two-day trip to the White House. 

A spokesman for the former prime minister said Mr Blair was invited to an ‘international conference’ because of his ties to the Middle East peace agreement between Israel and the UAE.

He has been accused of ignoring the quarantine rules after a special dispensation from the rules was not awarded to him, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

His spokesman denied the claims and said Mr Blair ‘was told to follow the guidance on international conferences which he did’.

Tony Blair, 67, was pictured at Harry’s Bar in London’s Mayfair less than two weeks after returning from a two-day trip to the White House

Mr Blair was pictured mingling with guests on the South Lawn of the White House on September 14. He held his face mask while posing for photographs

The ‘international conferences’ exemption to the rules applies to ­diplomats, staff at international bodies such as the UN and formal representatives at international conferences who have been ‘granted privileges and immunities’.

But Mr Blair is considered a private ­citizen since he left his role as Middle East envoy in 2015.


His spokesman said: ‘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. All tests have been negative. No other meetings were attended.’ 

Elsewhere today: 

  • Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson’s elder brother died of coronavirus, just hours after being taken into intensive care. The city is currently under Level 3 restrictions, having one of the highest infection rates in the country
  • London’s hospitality sector warned profits were 85 per cent down during the first daytime trading session of Tier 2 lockdown, though drinkers emerged on to the city streets in the evening
  • Tony Blair denied breaching coronavirus isolation rules after returning from a trip to Washington DC 
  • The House of Commons admitted breaching curfew by allowing MPs to drink in bars after-hours, but wouldn’t say whether Health Secretary Matt Hancock was in attendance
  • Coronavirus cases continued to rise across Europe with countries hitting record one-day totals as lockdown-free Sweden said it is considering putting local measures in place 

David Jones, a Conservative member of Parliament’s public administration committee, told the newspaper ‘it sets an appalling example to travellers if a former prime minister appears to flout the rules’.

Mr Blair was pictured mingling with guests on the South Lawn of the White House on September 14. He held his face mask while posing for photographs.

Returning to the UK on September 16, Mr Blair reportedly travelled by private jet on the £7,000-an-hour Falcon 7X.

He is believed to have had with him a team of Scotland Yard protection officers – paid for by the British taxpayer. 

Ten days after his return, on September 26, he was pictured leaving ‘one of the most elegant and sophisticated private members’ clubs in London’.

Those failing to follow the rules on self-isolation could be liable for a £1,000 fine, or potential prosecution.

Blair praises new Labour leader Keir Starmer for making party ‘competitive’ again after Corbyn

Sir Keir Starmer has returned Labour to being a ‘politically competitive’ party which is in a position to win a general election, Tony Blair says.

The former Labour leader and prime minister praised his successor’s performance in the three months since he won the contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Blair told the PA news agency: ‘Keir is doing a good job – a very good job actually – and I think he has put Labour back on the map. He has made them competitive again.

‘He will know and we all know that there’s a long way to go before a general election and many things to be done.

‘But in these months since he has become the leader, he has I think completely changed the image certainly of the Labour leadership amongst the public and he deserves respect and admiration for that.’

Asked if Sir Keir had made Labour a party that can win again, the former prime minister said: ‘He has put it in a position where it can.

‘There are a whole set of questions around policy and so on that in time I’m sure and know he will come to.

‘But has he made it politically competitive again which it hasn’t really been for quite a long period of time? Yes – and that is a huge step forward for the Labour Party.’

Labour has failed to win a general election since Mr Blair left office in 2007, with Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn all failing to secure majorities.

A Foreign Office spokesman 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 dependants. Those issued an exemption will not need to self-isolate.’

As of last month, police forces have only issued 38 fines from over 4,000 referrals from public health authorities.

The story emerged as Britain recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths in four months after another 150 victims were announced.

Department of Health statistics show the grim milestone hasn’t been reached since June 10 when 164 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths were announced.

It is also a surge of 85 per cent compared to last Saturday, when 81 deaths were registered, and a rise of 16 from yesterday’s toll of 136 victims.

Health chiefs today posted another 16,171 cases, up only six per cent on the figure recorded last Saturday (15,166), in a sign that the UK’s coronavirus outbreak may be beginning to slow. 

As many as 15,650 more positive tests were added to the tally yesterday.

Although still rising, the number of deaths from the virus remains miles off the levels seen at the height of the pandemic when more than 1,000 were being registered every day at the beginning of April. 

More than half the population are also living under tightened coronavirus restrictions – with London entering tier two curbs and Lancashire joining Liverpool in tier three.

But Boris Johnson is resisting calls to plunge the whole country into a two-week circuit breaker lockdown, amid fears of the harm it could do to the economy.  

In July, Mr Blair said infrastructure to stop the spread of the virus was critical as another national lockdown would not be possible, suggesting that people instead need to learn to live safely with the virus.

Mr Blair described the crisis as ‘the biggest challenge logistically and practically’ a government has ever faced, but criticised ministers for not yet putting in place an ‘infrastructure of containment’.

He said: ‘The reality is that we’re going to be living with Covid-19 – we’re not really going to be able to eliminate it.

‘And when you look at what has been happening in other countries, as lockdown has been eased, then more and more problems have appeared and many countries, having gone into lockdown then easing it, are finding spikes in the disease.

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Some 136 deaths were recorded yesterday, but scientists have warned this could rise to 690 by the end of the month

‘You can’t be sure of this but there’s at least a 50/50 chance that you have a resurgence of the disease in the autumn and that’s why it is absolutely essential now to prepare for that.

‘And to put in place every single last bit of containment infrastructure that you possibly can to make sure that if that happens you are able to control the disease, because you’re not going to be able to go back into the lockdown that we endured in March, April and May.’

In August, he claimed ministers had got the Government’s travel quarantine policy ‘wrong’.  

He took aim at the Government’s 14 day quarantine rules for people returning to the UK from countries where coronavirus is on the rise as he said the self-isolation period could be cut ‘substantially’. 

He called for ministers to take a more ‘sensible’ approach to calculating risk amid rising speculation that Croatia and Greece could soon join Spain and France on the UK’s ‘red list’. 

Meanwhile, Mr Blair also suggested ministers had been over reliant on officials during the crisis and that they needed to recognise ‘where the science ends and judgements begin’.    

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TV and Movies

Tony Awards Nominations 2020: The Complete List (Updating)

The delayed ceremony marks the end of a season cut short by the pandemic-fueled closure of Broadway theaters

Broadway may be closed but the Tony Awards will be going on.

The Broadway League and American Theatre Wing on Thursday announced the nominations for a 2019-20 season cut short by the closure of Broadway theaters in March — before many of the year’s starriest contenders managed to open.

That meant just 18 productions were eligible for the 2020 Tony Awards due to the shorter season, which is roughly half the number that would be contending in a normal year. In fact, no musical revivals opened during the eligibility period, so that category was eliminated all together.

The ceremony, originally scheduled to take place at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, will be virtual this year. There were 31 productions on the boards on March 12 before Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all theaters to close, with another eight due to begin preview performances ahead of the April 23 eligibility for this year’s Tony Awards.

Tony-winning actor James Monroe Iglehart (“Aladdin”) announced the nominees via the Tonys YouTube channel.

View the full list of nominations for the 2020 Tony Awards below:

Best Musical

  • “Jagged Little Pill”
  • “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”
  • “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”

Best Play

  • “Grand Horizons” – Bess Wohl
  • “The Inheritance” – Matthew Lopez
  • “Sea Wall/A Life” – Simon Stephens/Nick Payne
  • “Slave Play” – Jeremy O. Harris
  • “The Sound Inside” – Adam Rapp

Best Play Revival

  • “Betrayal”
  • “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune”
  • A Soldier’s Play”

Best Actor (Play)

Best Actress (Play)

Best Actor (Musical)

Best Actress (Musical)

Best Direction of a Play

  • David Cromer – “The Sound Inside”
  • Stephen Daldry – “The Inheritance”
  • Kenny Leon – “A Soldier’s Play”
  • Jamie Lloyd – “Betrayal”
  • Robert O’Hara – “Slave Play”

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Phyllida Lloyd – “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”
  • Diane Paulus – “Jagged Little Pill”
  • Alex Timbers – “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”

Best Book of a Musical

  • “Jagged Little Pill” – Diablo Cody
  • “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” – John Logan
  • “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” – Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, Kees Prins

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

  • “A Christmas Carol”
  • The Inheritance”
  • “The Rose Tattoo”
  • “Slave Play”
  • “The Sound Inside”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Best Costume Design of a Play

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Best Choreography

  • “Jagged Little Pill” – Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
  • “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” – Sonya Tayeh
  • “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” – Anthony Van Laast

Best Orchestrations

  • “Jagged Little Pill” – Tom Kitt
  • “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” – Katie Kresek, Charles Rosen, Matt Stine, Justin Levine
  • “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” – Ethan Popp

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Tony Ferguson hits back at Khabib, calling UFC rival ‘fathead’ and ‘chicken’ in reply to being labelled ‘stupid’

TONY FERGUSON has branded UFC rival Khabib Nurmagomedov as a 'fathead' and a 'chicken' after the lightweight champion criticised him.

The unbeaten Russian stated that the 36-year-old is 'finished' following his defeat against Justin Gaethje, while also calling the American 'stupid'.

Ferguson was set to face Khabib in April for the lightweight title, but the bout had to be scrapped as the Eagle was stranded in Dagestan due to the Covid-19 crisis.

El Cucuy subsequently fought and lost against Gaethje, where he failed in his attempt to win the interim championship.

And speaking of Ferguson, Khabib has ripped into his decision to cut weight twice, first for their cancelled meeting, before making weight to face Gaethje three weeks later.

He said: "Stupid. Stupid, stupid. Remember, I told you I like Tony Ferguson but he’s a stupid guy."

Khabib – who defends his belt against Gaethje later this month – then claimed that Ferguson is not a threat to anyone anymore.

The 28-0 fighter added: "Tony Ferguson is finished now.

"He's going to come back, and someone is going to beat him again, I believe."

And Ferguson has been quick to respond to his claims, as he stated he is raring to finally face him after having five scheduled bouts fall through.

Ferguson tweeted: "@[email protected]_Gaethje I’ll see you soon, Fathead.

"You Can’t Run Well & Conditioning Sucks. Only reason you feel bad is because you did bad.

"I Own You, Chicken # 200k & 20Pushups For The Homeless.

"U (sic) Two Are Managed By @AliAbdelaziz00 I’ll Make It A Point To See You Both."

There had been talk that Ferguson was to fight Dustin Poirier next, but UFC president Dana White has revealed terms couldn't be reached.

White also insisted that anyone who isn't willing to step and compete could be left behind in 2020.

He said: "When I call you and you want to fight (then) fight.

"If you don’t, no problem. I’m not pushing anybody to fight.

"You don’t want to fight? We move on, and we make other fights.”

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