London, July 4 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's bodyguards are costing the taxpayer 250,000pounds annually, it has emerged.
The bills for a security team, which accompanies Blair on luxury holidays and international business trips, are said to be nearly twice those submitted by officers protecting his successor Gordon Brown.
According to The Mail, more than 1,200pounds were spent a night for accommodation at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, as well as for limousine hire and thousands of pounds in cash for overseas trips without receipts, reports The Telegraph.
During a two-week break to Borneo in the summer of 2009, officers ran up a total bill of over 22,000pounds.
Soon after, a three-man police team reportedly accompanied Blair and his wife for a week long trip to a luxury health retreat in Bali.
Other expenses included 3,000pounds cash for a trip to Sierra Leone, for which no receipts were obtained.
Blair now spends much of his time outside Britain, either in his international diplomatic role as a UN Middle East envoy, on business dealings or on holiday.
A team of up to five personal bodyguards from the Metropolitan SO1 Specialist Protection travel with him wherever he goes.
On New Year's Eve many of Blair's protection team were deployed in Oxford. One officer claimed 984pounds for five nights at the Malmaison Hotel, while the team claimed a 213pound restaurant bill.
Other claims were said to include:
464pounds a night to stay at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan;
3,020pounds cash to cover expenses in Sierra Leone;
6,693pounds for one officer to fly from Jerusalem to Jeddah, then on to Kuala Lumpur, then Indonesia, Singapore and Washington DC to assess security for future trips by Blair. The visit included one night at the Jeddah Hilton, costing 1,264pounds.
Total spending on Royal and diplomatic protection has reached over 1.5 million pounds so far this year, The Mail report said.
A spokesman for the Home Office, which oversees the funding of the diplomatic and Royal protection squads, refused to discuss their budgets. (ANI)