DOWNING STREET insisted today that Tony Blair was paying to stay at the home of a celebrity friend in Florida.
The assurance came despite former Bee Gee Robin Gibb's wife Dwina reportedly saying that they had not received any money from Mr Blair for the trip.
The Prime Minister is reported to be close friends with the pop star - who was alongside him at an election rally in Huddersfield last year.
The pair were at Huddersfield New College in May 2005, when the Blair Roadshow swept into town on the eve of the General Election.
Gibb, one third of the hugely- successful pop band The Bee Gees, launched the evening in support of Colne Valley Labour candidate Kali Mountford.
"I'm delighted to meet one of my heroes," beaming Prime Minister Blair said as he took to the podium to the strains of Bono belting out U2's hit, A Beautiful Day.
The Premier has faced criticism in the past for staying for free at the holiday homes of friends.
On one occasion, the Blairs made donations to charity in lieu of payment for holidaying at the Barbados home of singer Cliff Richard.
Of Mr Blair's latest trip, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The Blairs have made a private agreement and they are paying for their accommodation."
But speaking to the Daily Mail, Mrs Gibb said she and her husband had neither asked or accepted money from the Premier for the trip.
"It's just a friendly thing," she said.
Mr Blair's winter holiday destination was revealed yesterday after the plane on which he and his family were travelling was involved in a runway drama when it landed in the USA.
It unfolded when a British Airways Boeing 747 plane ended up on a buffer zone at the end of the runway after landing at Miami Airport in Florida.
The captain of the plane, which had flown from Heathrow Airport, had to radio the Miami control tower to ask for assistance because of difficulty seeing the turn-off point to the taxiway.
Police and rescue vehicles surrounded the aircraft and engineers had to tug the plane back from the end of the runway and back on to the taxiway.
The incident caused a 45-minute delay for Mr Blair, who was believed to be with his wife, Cherie, and some of his children, and the other passengers.
BA made it clear that the plane, which landed at 6.17pm local time on Boxing Day with 345 passengers on board, had not overshot the runway.