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Clampdown on hooliganism? Blair son arrested

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Tony Blair suffered a personal setback to his government's clampdown on drunken hooligans Thursday when his eldest son was arrested for being "drunk and incapable" in public.

Police said 16-year-old Euan Blair was taken into custody after being picked up in London's West End on Wednesday evening.

An ambulance was called, but Euan was not taken to a hospital. He was driven home in the early hours of Thursday but has not been charged, police said.

A spokeswoman at Blair's Downing Street office declined to comment on the incident.

The timing could not come at a worse time for Blair and his Labor government's tough anti-crime measures, which include steps to put a lid on drunken and loutish behavior that were enhanced by images of English football hooligans running riot in Belgium during the Euro 2000 championship

Euan Blair's case rekindled memories of Home Secretary (interior minister) Jack Straw's son William, who was caught buying cannabis in a pub for an undercover reporter at the age of 17.

Stung by images of English football hooligans running riot in Belgium during the Euro 2000 championship, Blair on Monday challenged Britain's top police officers to crack down on drunken louts and criminals.

"There is a very real issue with young louts causing mayhem up and down the country on a Friday night," Blair's spokesman said at the time.

Ideas include breaking the link between excessive drinking and violence by targeting trouble-spot drinking venues and imposing drinking bans in some areas.

But Blair's favoured option of police officers imposing on-the-spot fines on drunken louts was roundly rejected by police chiefs as unworkable.

A series of law and order problems have dogged Blair, whose 1997 landslide election was partly built on his pledge to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime."