For once, Clare said not a word on politics

Bewildered by happiness, Clare Short's family reunion turns into the happiest photocall of her life
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The Independent Online
It was, she said, the happiest photocall of her life. Standing in public with the son she gave up for adoption when she was a student and he a six-week baby, Clare Short MP looked like a teenager in love.

Just hours after revealing her painful secret in an interview with The Independent, she proudly introduced Toby Graham, now 31 and a City solicitor, to the world.

Clutching each other's hands tightly, as if to make up for the time spent apart, the newly reunited mother and son kissed - somewhat shyly - for the cameras and spoke of their happiness.

"It's all a bit bewildering," Mr Graham said. "But it's wonderful, wonderful. It's just made me feel complete. I feel very, very happy."

His work colleagues, however, were he said, a "bit surprised - to put it mildly".

Ms Short was 18 and at university when she discovered that she was pregnant, and gave Mr Graham up because she thought that it would be for the best. But it had been "terrible" ever since until Mr Graham became a father himself and finally decided he wanted to trace his mother. They met for the first time four weeks ago.

Yesterday Ms Short, 50, gazed proudly at her only son and said: "He's lovely."

She had had her own name for her son when he was born, but she would not reveal it. Calling him Toby was "a bit hard", she said, but she was getting used to it.

Finding her son was not the only delight. With him come two grandchildren. Ms Short is yet to meet them face to face but she has seen them in bed. "I didn't have a close enough look," she said, but she has photographs and there will be plenty of opportunities to meet.

Yesterday, however, by the banks of the Thames with the Houses of Parliament as a backdrop, politics could scarcely fail to get a mention.

Mr Graham, adopted and raised by the director of a public company, has been a Tory voter but he had already indicated to The Independent his growing doubts about the Conservatives and his possible conversion to Labour.

"Are you going to be allowed to remain a Tory?" someone asked. "No comment," he said. "He can decide for himself," Ms Short said loyally.

But as an indication that he might become a new Labour man, Mr Graham did later accompany Ms Short to support a worthy cause - an anti-poverty march on Westminster Bridge organised by the international voluntary organisation ATD Fourth World. Ms Short signed their petition calling on the Government to implement a national poverty eradication plan.

Back in Victoria Embankment Gardens, fellow Labour MP Tony Banks described how he was nearly moved to tears as he read in The Independent yesterday of the reunion between mother and son. "I just think it's a great story," he said. "I'm very happy for them."

He was not the only one. As Ms Short gave Mr Graham a peck on the cheek just one more time and rubbed his hands warmly, a van driver from Billy's Snack Food Company slowed down to observe proceedings.

"Well done, girl," he called. "We're all bloody human."

Suzanne Moore, page 21