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Bush's Entourage of 700: What's It Costing?

Why on earth does President Bush need an entourage of 700 for his four day jaunt to England? That's ridiculous. What's even more galling is we, the American taxpayers, are footing the bill.

Mr Bush, his wife, Laura, and a 700-strong entourage worthy of a travelling medieval monarch, flew into Heathrow airport slightly late, at about 7.30pm. The couple were greeted by the Prince of Wales, then whisked to the palace by US military helicopter.

With up to 100,000 anti-war protesters planning to march through the heart of Whitehall tomorrow - and the cost of 5,123 police officers protecting the president likely to top £10m - Downing Street maintained a stiff upper lip in the face of predictions that the four-day visit could prove a major public relations disaster.

Bush will be making 150 minutes of speeches during his stay. He canceled his talk to Parliament due to the protests.

...senior White House adviser Dr Harlan Ullman said: "They would have loved to do it because it would have been a great photo-opportunity. "But they were fearful it would to turn into a spectacle with Labour backbenchers walking out."

His only talks now are at private, invitation-only functions.

The only speech Mr Bush, who will stay with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, is now due to give will be to an "invited audience" at the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: "This is yet another slight on this country by the president of the USA. "The least he could do is subject himself to questions from MPs." And colleague John McDonnell said: "Bush might be able to run from the protesters, he might be able not to see the banners. "But he must not be able to hide from the anger felt across the country at this unjustified war."

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