In the early hours of the morning after the UK General Election on 5 May, while votes were still being counted, Tony Blair and his colleagues gathered for the Labour Party celebration at the National Portrait Gallery. The NPG rented out its space at the “full corporate rate”, and director Sandy Nairne emphasised that his own appearance among the guests had only been for “a short time”. We can reveal that Tate Modern had been approached earlier to provide the venue, but the Labour Party request was politely declined. “The trustees have always taken the view that it is inappropriate to use the Tate for events that are of a party political nature, especially during an election period.” Tate Modern did not remain out of the scene for long—a week later it celebrated its fifth anniversary, inviting Tessa Jowell as the star guest and giving the new culture minister David Lammy an opportunity to be introduced to the press (see p.4).
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Tate Modern bans Labour Party’s party'