The catfight of the century. One charging a fortune. The other for no pay

law 2On what was billed as a private holiday to Sri Lanka last month, Cherie Blair couldn’t resist the chance to make some extra cash between relaxing at the pool and doing yoga sessions at her five-star hotel, set in 58 acres of lush gardens, and ponds covered in water lilies.

She and husband Tony — who was also on this delightful family trip along with son Euan, 31, and daughter-in-law Suzanne — could of course have afforded to take it easy.

After all, the former prime minister is estimated to be worth anything between £50million and £100million, while such is the success of his wife’s business that staff costs alone are £2million.

But making money is in the Blair blood. So as well as attending lavish private dinners with her husband and powerful political figures on that Sri Lankan trip, Cherie was touting for business on behalf of Omnia Strategy, the international legal firm she runs from a seventh-floor office with no name plate overlooking London’s Hyde Park.

While her husband mingled with the country’s politicians and gave a lecture in ‘reconciliation’, boasting about his role in the Northern Ireland peace process, Cherie was reported to have offered her services to the government as a (presumably highly paid) adviser.

To add to this whirl of high-powered deal-making, she was also invited to speak at the Bar Association of Sri Lanka’s annual conference, a shindig attended by Sri Lankan grandees at another five-star hotel.

Cherie talked convincingly and apparently passionately about the need for those involved in making money to balance their business enterprises with human rights.

They should go hand in hand, she gravely told her audience. ‘You are only a mobile phone call away from a terrible reputation,’ she warned, which is why it was so important to have good business ethics.

Her concern for human rights is all very well, but it might come as a surprise to the former president of a nearby island state, also in the Indian Ocean.

Mohamed Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives when he took office in 2008. His term ended abruptly four years later when he was deposed — at gunpoint, he claims — by a stooge of the dictator he had replaced, a dictator who had run a one-party state for 30 years. (Daily Mail)

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