Cherie Blair says husband Tony thinks whatever he does is ‘more important’ than helping with chores

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Cherie Blair says husband Tony has got into the habit of thinking whatever he does is ‘more important’ than helping out with domestic chores. 

At the weekend the former prime minister and Labour leader revealed he hasn’t done housework, laundry or cooked a family meal since 1997.

Tony, 67, claims it was ‘impossible’ to return to ordinary life after leaving office and told The Sunday Times Magazine he hasn’t done a weekly grocery shop or even driven a car since the month he entered Number 10.

The ex PM, who runs a think tank and consultancy – Tony Blair Institute for Global Change – admitted that the bulk of the housework during lockdown has fallen to his wife Cherie and their children. 

Cherie Blair says husband Tony has got into the habit of thinking whatever he does is ‘more important’ than helping out with domestic chores

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Cherie, 65, said since the family left Downing Street, Tony has ‘got into the habit of thinking that whatever he does is more important’ – particularly when it comes to ‘what he would probably regard as the more mundane things’.

‘Reeducation is a process that, I’m afraid, is still going on,’ she added.

‘[But] the more we talk about it, the more we see men talking about it, [the quicker] it stops being women’s work.’

Cherie said Tony was a ‘very hands on father’ when they were in Number 10, and played a big role in helping to look after their children when he was a backbench MP in the Eighties. 

Cherie (pictured with son Euan) added that her sons are more modern men than their father, explaining that Nicky is 'a very hands on father and actually does cook'

Cherie (pictured with son Euan) added that her sons are more modern men than their father, explaining that Nicky is ‘a very hands on father and actually does cook’

But when he became Prime Minister and the couple welcomed their youngest son Leo, now 20, she recalled: ‘The switchboard would ring up and say “The Prime Minister is coming back at 7pm, can you make sure the baby is ready so he can put the baby to bed, and his dinner’s ready”.’

Cherie told how there’d be times when Tony would be hours later than she expected, meaning his dinner was ‘ruined’, but she excused him because he’d had to take a call from the US President. 

‘It is fair enough, isn’t it?’ she said. ‘Once upon time the dinner would have been in the bin, but I could see that that was actually more important.’

Cherie added that her sons are more modern men than their father, explaining that Nicky is ‘a very hands on father and actually does cook’. 

Cherie said Tony was a 'very hands on father' when they were in Number 10, and played a big role in helping to look after their children when he was a backbench MP in the Eighties. Pictured in 2005 with sons Nicky (Nicholas), Euan and Leo and their daughter Kathryn

Cherie said Tony was a ‘very hands on father’ when they were in Number 10, and played a big role in helping to look after their children when he was a backbench MP in the Eighties. Pictured in 2005 with sons Nicky (Nicholas), Euan and Leo and their daughter Kathryn

‘And he cleans up afterwards as well,’ she added. ‘So yes, definitely an improvement.’

Though the ex-PM’s lockdown cooking skills have stretched to an omelette, which he made for himself and Leo. 

Cherie, who runs The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, said she hopes the pandemic has shone a light on how caring and cleaning roles are the ‘bedrock of what makes the rest of us able to go on and do what to us, at least, is more interesting work’.

She said it’s an important job and hopes people recognise going forward how much we rely on the people that do it  

The family have had no staff working at their seven-bedroom rural Buckinghamshire stately home – which Blair hasn’t left in 11 weeks – since March, other than their nanny of 22 years who is like ‘a member of the family’.

Cherie, who runs The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, said she hopes the pandemic has shone a light on how caring and cleaning roles are the 'bedrock of what makes the rest of us able to go on and do what to us, at least, is more interesting work'

Cherie, who runs The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, said she hopes the pandemic has shone a light on how caring and cleaning roles are the ‘bedrock of what makes the rest of us able to go on and do what to us, at least, is more interesting work’

Cherie said she feels lockdown is disproportionately affecting women and is concerned about reports that British society has ‘regressed to a 1950s way of living’ for many women.

University of Sussex researchers found 45 per cent of mothers were responsible for the lion’s share of childcare during the outbreak – up from 27 per cent before Covid-19 – while almost three quarters of mothers considered themselves as being the ‘default’ parent since lockdown was imposed on March 23.

Cherie told The Telegraph that we’re not seeing enough women or hearing about their experiences during public discussions about the pandemic, which means it’s not translating into policy. 

‘If we’d heard more from women, we may have had more priority on getting the schools open than getting the pubs open,’ she said.

The Blairs have both said they are enjoying ‘family time’ and are in regular FaceTime contact with their daughter Kathryn, 32, who is due to give birth in July and lives in London, along with their eldest son Euan, 36. 

Tony added that he fears for the long-term impact of the coronavirus on the economy, stating: ‘The thing that is terrifying at this stage is the economic damage at the end of it.’

Blair accused the government of publishing ‘confusing’ guidelines which even leaves him unsure of what the rules are ‘lies at the root of the trust problem’.

‘The government has announced a confusing array of three “phases”, three “steps”, five “tests” and five “alert levels”,’ he said. 

‘These overlap with one another substantially, are poorly defined and assessed in opaque ways, and are not linked explicitly to the lifting of different restrictions. This opacity leaves the impression that considerations other than risk are governing the pace of easing.’

He said he believes the government strategy for easing lockdown should focus more simply on the R rate and the number of new cases every day – a scheme that would require mass testing.

Blair added that this is the only method he believes will ensure the economy open safely, and despairs that the government is ‘not even debating’ implementing testing on the scale required.

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