Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
Cherie Booth
Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
In office
2 May 1997 – 27 June 2007
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Norma Major
Succeeded by Sarah Brown
Personal details
Born Cherie Booth
23 September 1954 (1954-09-23) (age 57)
Bury, Lancashire, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Tony Blair (1980–present)
Relations Antony Booth (father)
Lauren Booth (half-sister)
Booth family
Children Euan Blair (born 1984)
Nicholas Blair (born 1985)
Kathryn Blair (born 1988)
Leo Blair (born 2000)
Residence Connaught Square, London
Alma mater London School of Economics
Profession Barrister
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Official website

Cherie Blair (born 23 September 1954), known professionally as Cherie Booth QC, is a British barrister working in the legal system of England and Wales. She is married to the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; the couple have three sons and one daughter. She is currently the chancellor of Asian University for Women, Bangladesh.[1]


Early life

Cherie Booth was born on 23 September 1954 at Fairfield Hospital, Bury, then Lancashire, now Greater Manchester, England,[2] and brought up in Ferndale Road, Waterloo, north of Liverpool. She was christened Theresa Cara Booth. Her father, British actor Tony Booth, left her mother, actress Gale Howard (née Joyce Smith) when Cherie was eight years old. She and her younger sister, Lyndsey, were then brought up by their mother Gale and their paternal grandmother, Vera Booth, a devout Roman Catholic of Irish descent. The sisters attended Catholic schools in Crosby and Sefton. Cherie Booth attended Seafield Convent Grammar which is now part of Sacred Heart Catholic College, where she achieved 4 Grade A GCE A Level passes. Cherie and Lyndsey have six half sisters, including British journalist Lauren Booth. Cherie Blair is a practising Roman Catholic.[3]

Education and family

Euan (left) and Cherie Blair at the Red Bull Air Race 2007, London

She studied law at the London School of Economics and graduated with First Class Honours. She later came at the top of her year in the bar exams,[4] while teaching law at the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster). In 1976, while she was studying to become a barrister, she met future Prime Minister and husband Tony Blair. She obtained a pupillage in the chambers of Derry Irvine ahead of him, although he was also taken on. Married on 29 March 1980, they have four children: Euan, Nicholas, Kathryn, and Leo.[5][6] According to Blair's official biography[specify], Leo was the first child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years, since Francis Russell was born to Lord John Russell on 11 July 1849. Cherie became pregnant again in 2002, her 48th year, but miscarried in early August.[7]

In July 1999 she was awarded an Honorary Degree from the Open University as Doctor of the University.

Political attempt and views

Cherie Blair unsuccessfully contested the seat of North Thanet in Kent for Labour at the 1983 UK general election, losing to Roger Gale (Conservative).[8]

She has described herself as a socialist and at times has appeared to have views further to the left than those of her husband.[9] In March 2008 she chaired the Street Weapons Commission on behalf of the broadcaster Channel 4. Booth and her team toured the UK and took evidence from people affected by street crime and published a report and practical advice in June 2008. In 2010, in was widely speculated and thought that Blair could become a Labour peer in the House of Lords, however such move has not been made.[10][11][12]

Legal career

A member of Lincoln's Inn, she became a barrister in 1976 and Queen's Counsel in 1995. Until 1988, her head of chambers was George Carman QC. In 1999, she was appointed a Recorder (a permanent part-time judge) in the County Court and Crown Court. She was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 1999–2006, and on 26 July 2006 was awarded the honorary title of Emeritus Chancellor. She is also Governor of the London School of Economics and the Open University. She is a founding member of Matrix Chambers in London from which she continues to practise as a barrister. Matrix was formed in 2000 specialising in human rights law, though members also practise in a range of areas of UK public and private law, the Law of the European Union and European Convention on Human Rights, and public international law.[13]

She specialises in employment, discrimination and public law and in this capacity has occasionally represented claimants taking cases against the UK government.[14]

Cherie Blair has appeared in a number of leading cases. A notable example before the European Court of Justice was concerned with discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. See ECJ Case C-249/96, Lisa Jacqueline Grant vs. South-West Trains Ltd. [15] In November 2007, she expressed interest in becoming a senior judge.[16]

In January 2010, Booth said she took a convicted defendant's religious beliefs into account when sparing him a custodial sentence for assault.[17][18] The Office for Judicial Complaints released an initial statement saying they had "received a number of complaints in relation to the comments" and that the matter was under investigation.[19] On 10 June 2010, the OJC released a statement saying that the investigation had "found that Recorder Booth’s observations did not constitute judicial misconduct" and accordingly "no disciplinary action is necessary".[20] However a separate letter to the National Secular Society said that Booth was to receive "informal advice" from a more senior judge.[21]

On 2 September 2011 Booth was criticised by the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division for passing an unduly lenient sentence on a cocaine importer. When sitting as a Recorder in the Crown Court at Isleworth Booth passed a suspended prison sentence. The Court of Appeal described this under-sentencing as 'remarkable' and increased the sentence to 3 1/2 years immediate imprisonment.[22]


In 2002, Blair purchased two flats in Bristol with the assistance, it was alleged but later denied, of Peter Foster, a convicted Australian conman and boyfriend of Blair's friend Carole Caplin, who negotiated a discount for Blair.[23] Blair publicly apologised for her embarrassing connection to Foster, stating, "I did not think it was my business to choose my friends' friends".[23]

Her relationship with Carole Caplin has given rise to headlines in some newspapers, as Caplin is credited with introducing Blair to various New Age symbols and beliefs.[24] Reports of Blair's New Age practices included an account of her 2001 holiday in Mexico, when she and her husband, wearing only swimming costumes, privately took part in a rebirthing procedure that involved smearing mud and fruit over each others' bodies while sitting in a steam bath.[25]

In 2002, she apologized after saying within hours of a Jerusalem blast that killed at least 19 people in reference to the Palestinian suicide bombers: "As long as young people feel they have no hope but to blow themselves up, we're never going to make progress, are we?".[26][27]

Cherie Blair has demanded that the Catholic Church reconsider its hardline stance against contraception, suggesting it could be holding some women back from pursuing a career.[28]

Apostolides v Orams

Cherie Booth was inappropriately criticized by then President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos for representing the Orams whilst being the Prime Minister's wife. The UK does not maintain diplomatic relations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a jurisdiction which is occupied by the Turkish Army and refuses to allow Greek-Cypriot refugees to their houses.[29]


Cherie Blair features as a character in TONY! The Blair Musical.[30]

Played by Helen McCrory, Blair also features as a character in the The Queen (2006) starring Dame Helen Mirren about the aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 (just months after her husband became prime minister), and is portrayed as a fierce anti-monarchist. McCrory played her again in the 2010 HBO film The Special Relationship.

Robert Harris's fictional thriller, The Ghost, features a pivotal character, Ruth Lang, inspired by Blair,[31] who is revealed to be under the influence of the C.I.A. She is portrayed by Olivia Williams in the 2010 film adaptation by Roman Polanski.

Phoebe Nicholls played her in The Trial of Tony Blair (2007).

Television appearances

  • 2011 - Jamie's Dream School

Awards and recognition

Cherie Blair has been awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill medal in recognition of her high ideals and courageous actions.[32]


Cherie Blair is a patron of Breast Cancer Care, a UK breast cancer information and support charity, and Jospice, the international hospice organisation based in her home town of Crosby, Merseyside.[33] She is also involved with the British branch of Child In Need India (CINI UK), and is the organisation's patron.[34][35] She is also the Vice President of the Greater London Fund for the Blind.

Her foundation is called The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (CBFW).[36]

Mrs Blair is also a champion of Liverpool Seafarers Centre <>.


On 16 July 2009, it was announced that Mrs Blair had been diagnosed with suspected swine flu. She cancelled many public engagements because of the illness and doctors gave her a course of Tamiflu. She also cancelled a visit to Liverpool's Hope University at which she was to receive an honorary degree for her work in human rights and support for the university.[37][38]


Blair wrote a book of her memoirs, published in late May 2008, entitled Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography,[39] and the book was listed as a Sunday Times best-seller. Interviewed about the book by Carole MacNeil on the Canadian network CBC Television on 1 June 2008, Blair stated that she felt most of the controversy about her in the British media was due to her pioneering role as the first wife of a British Prime Minister who had her own career, with the media simply not knowing how to treat her fairly and objectively.[40]


  • Miss Cherie Booth (1954–1980)
  • Mrs Cherie Blair (1980-)
  • Cherie Booth QC (1995-)


  1. ^ chancellor
  2. ^ Blair, Cherie (2008). p 9.
  3. ^ Tony Blair could become Roman Catholic in time to celebrate Christmas Mass
  4. ^ "Profile: Cherie Blair", BBC, 19 June 2002
  5. ^ Facts: Life and times of Tony Blair
  6. ^ "Blair's son 'drunk and incapable'". BBC News. 6 July 2000. 
  7. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Cherie Blair suffers miscarriage
  8. ^ [1], 'Cherie Blair plans to be Gordon Brown's secret weapon at the election'
  9. ^ [2], 'Yes, I am a socialist,' Guardian, 17 May 2008
  10. ^ Cherie Blair elevated to the House of Lords? -
  11. ^ Thomson, Alice (10 February 2010). "Cherie Blair is the very model of a modern baroness". The Times (London). 
  12. ^ Walters, Simon (7 February 2010). "Make Cherie a Baroness! Extraordinary row over plan to elevate Mrs Blair to Lords". Daily Mail (London). 
  13. ^ "Areas Of Practice"[dead link], Matrix Chambers
  14. ^ "Purja and Ors v Ministry of Defence", British and Irish Legal Information Institute, 21 February 2003
  15. ^
  16. ^ Doughty, Steve (14 November 2007). "Me a top judge? Maybe, says Cherie". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  17. ^ Complaint after Cherie Booth spares religious man jail, BBC, 4 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  18. ^ Secular society upset by Judge Cherie decision, Jerome Taylor, The Independent, 4 February 2010
  19. ^ "Statement from the office of judicial complaints". OJC. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  20. ^ Investigation Statement - Recorder Cherie Booth QC, Office for Judicial Complaints, 10 June 2010
  21. ^ Cover-up claim over Cherie Blair court remark to Muslim, BBC, 19 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  22. ^ BBC News - Cherie Booth's 'lenient' drug smuggler sentence increased
  23. ^ a b "Cherie says 'sorry' for Foster dealings", BBC, 10 December 2002
  24. ^ "Ev'rybody must get stones", The Observer, 8 December 2002
  25. ^ How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, Francis Wheen, Harper Perennial 2004, ISBN 0-00-714097-5
  26. ^ Cherie under attack: from fur in flight to freebies", The Guardian, 9 February 2005.
  27. ^ PM's wife 'sorry' in suicide bomb row", BBC News, 18 June 2002.
  28. ^ Blair: end Church’s hard line on birth control
  29. ^ Michael Griffin Can the Prime Minister's wife save this holiday home? 25 Jan 2006 The Daily Telegraph retrieved 10 Aug 2010
  30. ^ "Tony Blair: The Musical; Tony! The Blair Musical", The Times, 10 August 2007. Accessed 2008-06-01
  31. ^ "The PM, his glamorous aide and a jealous wife... but it's just a novel", MailOnline, 18 September 2007. Accessed 2008-06-01
  32. ^ Historic Hyde Park 2007 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medalists announced[dead link]
  33. ^ Cherie Blair opens extension at Jospice in Thornton YouTube, 1 Jun 2009
  34. ^ Cherie Blair | Events & Visits | A Visit to Child In Need India
  35. ^ About Us | Child In Need India | CINI
  36. ^ The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
  37. ^ Cherie Blair Suffering from Swine Flu Daily Mail 16, July 2009
  38. ^ Cherie Blair 'suffering from swine flu' Times 16, July 2009
  39. ^ Blair, Cherie (2008). Book cover
  40. ^ CBC Television, 1 June 2008; interview by Carole MacNeil

Cited texts

  • Blair, Cherie (2008). Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography. Little Brown. ISBN 9781408700983. 

External links

The following links were last verified 14 December 2006.
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Moores
Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University
Succeeded by
Brian May
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chancellor of Asian University for Women
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Norma Major
Spouse of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Sarah Brown

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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