Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/10/blair_gates_davos/

Blair bumps Brown to schmooze with Gates at Davos

Will he be Queening it?

By John Lettice

Posted in Bootnotes, 10th January 2005 12:47 GMT

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair elbowed aside Chancellor Gordon Brown in order to star alongside Bill Gates and Thabo Mbeki at a Davos World Economic Forum session on Poverty, reports the Sunday Times. Blair, who is currently engaged in an absurdly squalid succession-related battle with Brown in the public prints, even arranged for the date of the session to be brought forward a day in order to fit himself in, as he couldn't make the 28th January.

It's not clear how much of Blair's motivation stemmed from stopping Brown hogging the limelight and how much he just wanted to bask in the reflected glory of Bill Gates, the change was however last minute, and Brown's name remains in the official programme. Gates himself is now a fixture at Davos, and is co-chairing this year.

Blairwatch: Weekend reports of Blair's holiday arrangements shed some light on why he thinks there are no stains on David Blunkett's record. What, after all, is the odd parliamentary railpass compared with serial use of an RAF BAe 146 from the Queen's Flight at £8,000 an hour? Tory MP Chris Grayling claims Blair habitually uses the Queen's Flight for his holidays, tacking on meetings in order for it to qualify as official business. Fielding this one, Downing Street claimed security advice meant he'd needed to use the aircraft. Grayling has an FOIA request for details of Blair's use of the Queen's Flight since 1997 in. It is not yet known how regularly terror alerts coincide with the Dear Leader's holidays. ®