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Police question UK Blair's wife for "slapping" boy

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Sep 17 (Reuters) The wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair only pretended to slap a cheeky teenager, but child protection officials reported her to the police and officers questioned her before dismissing the incident.

Cherie Blair was being photographed with teenager Miles Gandolfi at the UK Schools Games sports event in Glasgow, Scotland, when the 17-year-old jokingly raised his hand behind her head to make a ''bunny ears'' gesture.

In response, Blair, a prominent human rights lawyer and mother of four children, took it in good humour and pretended to slap Gandolfi, telling him he was cheeky. Newspaper pictures then showed them laughing and hugging each other.

But officials from the Child Protection in Sports Unit reported Blair to police who then questioned promising fencer Gandolfi about the incident.

''Following further inquiries into an alleged incident said to have occurred at the UK School Games at Scotstoun Leisure Centre on September 9, it has now been established that no incident took place,'' a Glasgow police spokeswoman said.

''Police inquiries into the matter are now complete.'' Gandolfi's mother Catherine said she could not understand why any compaint had been made.

''It wasn't an assault of anything like that,'' she told the Mail newspaper today. ''It was just a bit of fun on his part -- it was all very lighthearted.'' However all the fuss had affected her son's performance in the competition, she said.

Blair has been under intense media scrutiny, much of it hostile, since her husband became British premier in 1997.

She was at the centre of a high-profile scandal in 2002 when it emerged that a convicted fraudster had helped her in a number of property deals, although there was no suggestion she had behaved illegally.

REUTERS MQA BS1811

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