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John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.

"The Independent's must-read man" - Daniel Finkelstein

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Blairs still not victims of property crash

Posted by John Rentoul
  • Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 08:33 am
I'll shut up about Tony Blair in a minute, or when the Daily Mail stops printing, er, economies with the actualité about him. But, once again, the poison machine has been denied the story it wants, namely: "Blairs victims of property crash."

So it is making up the next best: "Blair makes £2m profit on house that taxpayers helped pay for."

Paul Dacre's salary is £1.6m

Apparently, the Connaught Square house - "the London one" as Blair put it recently when asked to which of his many properties he was referring - is worth considerably more than the Blairs paid for it and the adjoining mews house, despite the fall in house prices generally. 

Given that, had the Daily Mail got the headline it wanted it would have carried a leading article urging the taxpayer to make good the Blairs' losses, it is only fair that it should make the point that their profits have been subsidised out of the public purse.

Except that they haven't been. Blair increased his mortgage on Myrobella, the house in his Sedgefield constituency, in order to help pay for the Connaught Square house. But he did not claim any extra mortgage payments on his MPs' second home allowance, as The Guardian was forced to admit in a correction.