Former British prime minister Tony Blair was forced to deny a report on Sunday (5 March) that claimed he had made attempts to secure a role with Donald Trump as a Middle East peace envoy.
The report in a Sunday newspaper alleged Blair had met with Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on three occasions since September.
One of the alleged meetings detailed by the Mail on Sunday took place last week at the White House and lasted for three hours. Another one was held after Trump's shock election victory in November 2016. The first meeting was said to have been held in September.
Blair's spokesman made a statement on Sunday in response to the report which said: "The story in the Mail on Sunday is an invention. Mr Blair has made no such 'pitch' to be the President's Middle East envoy.
"Neither has he had any discussions about taking such a role or any role working for the new President. He has been working on the peace process for 10 years.
"He continues to do so. He does so in a private capacity. He will continue to do it in that way. Period."
Blair previously held the role of Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia, which he took up in 2007 after resigning as the British prime minister. He resigned from the post in 2015.
Though Blair is said by the report to be an attractive candidate thanks to his thorough knowledge of the region, given significant policy developments during his tenure as PM, he would not be an obvious choice of ally to Trump. A vocal opponent of Brexit, Blair has used his position to speak out about the rise of and launched a platform aimed at tackling populism.
On Friday, Blair published an article in The New York Times – a publication which Trump has called into question a number of times since taking up his post, in a war of words against the press – about combating populism. In the article, Blair calls for a "popular, not populist" movement for the sake of liberal democracy.
Blair has been the subject of a string of scathing articles by the newspaper in recent weeks.