Recently released government files have revealed that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was not who he claimed to be and was, in fact, an actor painted to look like the then Labour leader.
According to the files, released under Whitehall’s 8:30 to Euston policy, the real Mr Blair died in a freak accident in 1996 when he was ripped in two by an arguing Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell.
The files lift the lid on ten years of British politics where five different hired actors played the part of Mr Blair.
Each of the unnamed actors portrayed Mr Blair for several years at a time, undergoing a daily early-morning routine of having Mr Blair’s image applied with spray paint.
Fearing the Labour Party would lose the upcoming General Election without the charismatic Blair, Mandelson and Campbell hatched the plot to spray his image on to somebody else.
They then held an open casting session for potential actors, placing an advert for a “Statesman-like male who doesn’t mind being told what to do”.
The files do not explain why the actors were replaced after a two-year spell and nothing is mentioned of what happened to them afterwards.
Between the 1997 election victory and 2007, when Gordon Brown took over, only a select few government officials were made aware of the prime minister’s true identity.
Apparently, not even Mr Blair’s wife, Cherie Booth, knew of the deception.
The released files also recount a close shave during an official trip to Washington to meet President Bush.
Half-way through the trip, the spray paint used to paint on Mr Blair’s appearance ran out.
Two of the prime minister’s security team were then forced to trawl the streets of America’s capital looking for an open paint shop.
Paul Boring from the Taxpayer’s Alliance said: “I’d really like to know how much was spent on the spray paint used for this cover up.
“I would like to presume that they had some sort of deal with B&Q where they got a discount for buying in bulk.”
Asked to comment on the quality of the paint work used on Mr Blair, Mike Asbo, from the Graffiti Artists’ Guild, responded: “Who’s Tony Blair?”