Four former prime ministers turn down invitations to a centenary dinner at Checkers – leaving Boris Johnson to host only Theresa May at their country retreat.
On 100 years since a UK leader first enjoyed living in a Buckinghamshire country house, the prime minister had expected a rare gathering of all the No. 10 survivors.
But Tony Blair and Gordon Brown turned down an offer to reunite, and it’s now confirmed that John Major and David Cameron have also said they are unable to attend.
This means Mrs May will be the only ex-prime minister at the festivities, leading to an uncomfortable meeting with her predecessor for Mr Johnson, although Sir John’s wife Norma will be among the other guests.
The last time the pair met at Checkers, it prompted his resignation as foreign secretary from his cabinet in 2018 over his disastrous Brexit proposals.
She has since become one of his staunch backbench critics, including his shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan and the US and Australia’s decision to counter China with the new Auks alliance.
In July, she was among the leaders of the Conservative rebellion over a £4bn-a-year cut in foreign aid, accusing the government of “turning its back on the poor”.
This dinner marks 100 years since David Lloyd George became the first prime minister to occupy Checkers.
Since 1918, the invitation to return has become the highest honor given by the Prime Minister to visiting foreign leaders.
Mr. Blair hosted US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush after Sir John entertained Russian President Boris Yeltsin, while Ms. May brought Donald Trump to checkers.
It is said that Angela Merkel went for a walk in the countryside with David Cameron, who helped the German Chancellor climb the barbed wire fence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pulled up a pint at a nearby pub and, after another long Sunday lunch there, Mr Cameron’s motorcade overtook his young daughter, Nancy.
A government source confirmed Granthshala That Sir John and Mr. Cameron had followed Mr. Blair and Mr. Brown’s disappearance at Saturday night’s dinner.
The taxpayer contributes £916,000 per year towards the maintenance of cheques, which are mainly performed by members of the armed forces.
But the prime minister has to pay for the food, drink and entertainment himself – prompting complaints from some about the cost of playing host.
Still, most of the prime minister and his aides consider Checkers to be one of the best perks of the job, and Mr Johnson moves there most of the weekend.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /