London, July 21 : Police could spend more money protecting Tony Blair than his successor as Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
A Scotland Yard source said looking after Brown would cost about 1.5 million pounds a year, but the bill for guarding Blair is expected to be two million pounds or more this year.
A source told The Mirror: "He is still at the highest risk level because he is seen as the man who took Britain into Afghanistan and Iraq. His new job trying to reconcile Middle East problems has pushed up costs because we have to have more of everything."
Blair has made five trips to the Middle East, each time with a team of plain-clothes officers.
As the Blairs no longer live at No 10 - within Scotland Yard's "security umbrella" around Whitehall - police have to permanently guard their home. He is also driven about in an armour-plated car with a team of undercover officers from the Met or counter-terrorism.
Sources say the cost of 24-hour protection is about 12,000 pounds a week in wages alone.
The news came as it emerged Cherie Blair spent 25,000 pounds of taxpayers' money on a Government car and driver even after her husband left office last June. She continues to be chauffeured by "Dave" in a luxury car, although she now foots the bill.