UK ambassador details the Bush-Blair relationship

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WASHINGTON -- Tony Blair has felt unable to pick up his US Congressional Gold Medal of Honour for four years partly because the ceremony would reinforce the prejudices of those convinced he was “some sort of poodle”, says Sir David Manning, Britain’s Ambassador in Washington.

The Prime Minister’s 1,351-day delay in collecting the medal from President Bush has long been a source of puzzlement in both Washington and London. Downing Street insists that it is still being designed.

But as Mr Blair prepares to leave office, Sir David told The Times in a rare interview that the Prime Minister “always had inhibitions” about being handed a medal that was awarded shortly after the invasion of Iraq at his triumphant address to both houses of Congress in July 2003.

Sir David —- who was Downing Street’s chief foreign policy adviser in the run-up to the invasion — seeks to tackle perceptions about Britain’s relationship with America and that between the two leaders, whose place in history is likely to be defined by the Iraq war.

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