Tuesday 29 December 2009


A little-known loophole in UK company law is being used by Tony Blair to keep his finances secret, according to the Guardian. Blair would normally have to publish company accounts detailing the millions flowing into his various commercial ventures since he stepped down from office in 2007. But he has set up a complicated artificial structure which avoids the normal rule. In effect, he is getting the benefits of running a British company without the drawbacks of unwelcome publicity.

He is using something called Windrush Ventures No3 LP, a so called limited partnership. Thanks to a gap in the Whitehall regulations, this entity is not required to publish any accounts. Such partnerships must normally disclose figures, or face criminal penalties. Blair sidestepped the rules by inserting a second partnership as one of the notional partners, in a way the regulations do not cover. This second partnership, Windrush Ventures No 2 LLP, is a so-called limited liability partnership, a type of entity only invented in 2000, which, conveniently, the rules have not been updated to mention.

There is nothing illegal in what Blair has done, but he has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid having to publish accounts, and in doing so to keep his business arrangements private. What, we might ask, is he trying to hide, and can we trust him to be paying the correct amount of tax?

Given that while he is making all this money which he is so eager to hide from us, he is costing the taxpayer around £6 million a year in security in his role as one of the world's most hated men, I can’t help thinking that it is time that Mr Mandleson, as Business Secretary, or Mr Darling, as Finance Secretary, closed this loophole. I’m pretty certain it will be high on the list of the incoming cabinet!


  1. I suspect Mr Blair has a lot to hide, including certain donations from various organisations lobbying him for the political influence he weilds.

    In simpler times it was called bribes.

  2. Good old Tony: if he wants to be exempted from the rules of normal society I don't know why he does no have himself appointed as royal, we all know that they are exempted from FOI legislation.

    Bit late to get Gordon to pass a Parliamentary Instrument to exempt him from everything, he should have done that before stepping down as PM. You know just after he shredded his own expenses but not Gordons.

  3. QM: Yes, I would say you're right there. I wondered what it was that he was hiding, and, given his history, or rather his wife's history, I thought it was probably a tax evasion thing. I never thought about erm, lobbying fees....

  4. Munguin: Usually it's the wives pushing them to be Lords or Sirs so that they can attach themselves to that title (I bet Lady Martin fair loves her wee title), but in Blair's case his Mrs deplores anything like that, so I guess it's the money. (She's scared of being poor. You know, like the people they were elected to represent.)

    I would say that anyone who shreds their expenses has been on the fiddle big time. Otherwise why do it? We know that he claimed for repairs done to his second home weeks before he stood down.

    Shre4d Gordon's expenses? Ha Ha! He'd be happy to see Gordon going down. He hates him, as do we all. Mind you, in fairness to Blair, he did protect us from him for 5 years by staying on. We should be grateful at least for that.

  5. Dean: erm.... lemme see.... nope, can't imagine.