The Sunday Times - Britain
March 07, 2004
Conman Foster kicks PM in pants
David Cracknell and Nicholas Hellen
THE Australian conman at the centre of the “Cheriegate” affair has made a fresh series of claims about the prime minister as he tries to promote a book covering his relations with the Blairs.
Peter Foster, who helped the Blairs to buy two cut-price flats in Bristol, yesterday boasted that his forthcoming memoirs carried a “weapon of mass destruction” that he would unleash on Downing Street in the next few days.
Foster, who has called himself the “human headline”, has produced no evidence for his latest allegations. But he has claimed Carole Caplin, his former girlfriend, was in love with Tony Blair and had an “extraordinary influence” over the prime minister, including picking his clothes “right down to his underpants”.
Downing Street denied the claims. A spokesman said: “This is the latest attempt by Peter Foster to get publicity for his supposed book. We have absolutely no intention of taking these claims seriously and neither should anyone else.” Caplin declined to comment.
The claims, and Foster’s legal dispute with a British tabloid newspaper over return of documents used in his memoirs, are likely to revive unwelcome memories at No 10 of the Cheriegate controversy which erupted in December 2002.
The row began when it emerged Foster had helped the prime minister’s wife to negotiate a discount on the flats, one intended for the Blairs’ son Euan while he was at university. Downing Street initially played down Foster’s role in the deal, but e-mails between Foster and Cherie Blair revealed his involvement.
In his latest flurry of allegations, Foster told the Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney: “The heart of my book (A Question of Deceit) is the extraordinary influence that Carole has over Tony. The British public’s greatest misconception is that Carole and Cherie Blair are the star relationship. The true relationship is between Carole and Tony.
“They went for long walks in the woods around Chequers and they phoned each other at night, having long conversations. The third person in the triangle wasn’t Cherie, it was Tony.
“Carole coached him on how to handle people, how to handle situations and how to present himself. She picked his clothes, right down to his underpants.”
He added: “I would not be surprised if Tony and Cherie’s right down to his underpants.” Foster added: “I would not be surprised if Tony and Cherie’s marriage didn’t last the distance and that some time in the future he could end up with Carole.”
Foster also claims Blair phoned Caplin on returning from a visit to George W Bush in April 2002. “She told me Tony said that war against Iraq was inevitable.”
In the article in Vanity Fair, Foster claims that when Blair has had clashes with Gordon Brown he has sought advice from Caplin, who got her mother Sylvia to do a new age “reading” involving a hidden force called The Light.
Foster said: “Tony would call and Carole would say, ‘I’ll ask mum to channel on this and ring you back.’ Then she’d call back and say, ‘You must not confront him on this. Now isn’t the right time’.”
In an e-mail to his lawyer quoted in the American magazine, Foster describes what he claims were repeated late-night calls between Tony Blair and Caplin. “Since Carole has become pregnant, Tony is now ringing nearly every night,” he wrote. “She used to lay in bed next to me and talk to him but it is becoming more secretive of late.”