In a remarkably frank memoir, former Prime Minister Tony Blair explains the reasons why politicians in high positions often cross the line and have affairs with women.
Blair explores the 'free-bird impulse to have affairs to spring you from that prison of self-control', and says, "Then there is the moment of encounter, so exciting, so naughty, so lacking in self-control."
"Suddenly you are transported out of your world of intrigue and issues and endless machinations and the serious piled on the serious; and just put on a remote desert island of pleasure, out of it all, released, carefree. You become a different person, if only for an instant, until returned back to reality."
According to him, many women found politicians highly desirable. He writes in his best-selling memoir: "It's a strange thing, politics and sex. People have often said to me that power is a kind of aphrodisiac, and so women -- politics still being male-dominated -- would come on to politicians in a way they would never dream of with anyone else."
Blair seeks to justify the behaviour of his former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who had an affair with Tracey Temple, his diary secretary, by saying, "I totally understood the desire to escape. And it's nothing really to do with how happy or otherwise your marriage is. It's an explosion of irresponsibility in an otherwise responsible life."
As parts of the book surprise many inside and outside Westminster, Blair writes, "The issue is not the fornication, but the complication."
Blair provides some intimate details about his relationship with his wife, Cherie, particularly following the death of the Labour leader John Smith in 1994. "On that night of 12 May, 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me trength, I was an animal following my instinct."
Blair also describes being love-struck during his first serious relationship, with Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, during his last year at school.
"You know the first person you ever fall in love with; you know the incredible outpouring of desire, the overwhelming sense of something unique, inexpressible, inexplicable and even incomprehensible, but so thrilling, uplifting, your heart pumping and soaring?"
He provides details of the long-term friendship with his 'sexy and exuberant' aide Anji Hunter. He writes, "Anji was my best friend. We had known each other since the age of 16 when I had tried climbing into her sleeping bag at a party in the north of Scotland (without success!)."