MP's wife Christine Hemming denies kitten theft

The wife of a Liberal Democrat MP today denied burgling the home of her husband's lover and stealing a kitten.

Christine Hemming, who is married to Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming, pleaded not guilty to the charge of burglary during a brief hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mrs Hemming, of Moseley, Birmingham, is alleged to have burgled the home of Emily Cox, a researcher with whom her husband fathered a child in 2005.

The 52-year-old defendant told the court: "Apologies to the public purse, but I am not guilty."

It is alleged that the politician's wife burgled Ms Cox's home in Church Road, Moseley, on September 29 last year and stole a tabby kitten to the value of £20, contrary to the 1968 Theft Act.

Mrs Hemming was bailed to appear at Birmingham Crown Court for trial on June 21.