Cherie Blair to write book about wives at Number 10

As consorts to the most powerful politicians in the land, they have balanced the vital duty of not yawning at diplomatic dinners with other pursuits such as penning verse and, in one case, giving birth to 13 children.

Now, it seems, the latest occupant of the role of Prime Minister's wife is to set a precedent by writing a history of the experiences of women who have taken on the burden – including herself. Cherie Blair is working on a biography of prime ministerial spouses for several months by interviewing former Downing Street insiders.

The book, which she is jointly writing with Cate Haste, wife of the New Labour peer Melvyn Bragg, will be a first venture into print for Mrs Blair beyond her contributions to legal journals in her role as a leading barrister.

Downing Street refused to comment on the book yesterday, saying only that it was a "private matter".

But the claim that the book is to include an account by Mrs Blair of her life at Number 10 attracted criticism for exploiting the grey area between the private and public lives of the Blairs.The Prime Minister's wife has fiercely maintained the privacy of her family, including taking out an injunction against a former nanny, Rosalind Mark, who tried to publish a book about her time with the Blairs.

She has also kept a low profile since last year's "Cheriegate" scandal over her purchase of two flats with the help of a convicted conman during which she spoke of the pressures of being a QC, mother, wife and charity worker, saying: "There just aren't enough hours in the day".

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP, said: "Once again, it blurs the lines between the political and the private. She has a very privileged position and the book will no doubt be sympathetic to the Labour project."

Mrs Blair is understood to have started work on the book late last year at the height of the row over her dealings with the Australian fraudster Peter Foster, the partner of her friend and spiritual adviser Carole Caplin.

It is claimed that among the string of interviewees Mrs Blair has invited to the family flat in Downing Street is Lady Margaret Colville, the wife of the private secretary to Winston Churchill.

Mrs Blair has previously been criticised for using Downing Street for her private work after she hosted case meetings there with colleagues from her legal chambers.

The Prime Minister's wife will not be short of material for her work. From Elizabeth Wrottesley, second wife of the Duke of Grafton (Prime Minister from 1767 to 1770) and mother of 13 of his 16 children, to Audrey Callaghan, who avoided appearing in public, the role has long required its holders to balance the demands of domestic life with the thrust of politics.

Among the more colourful of recent prime ministerial partners, on whom Mrs Blair is thought to be concentrating, is Mary Wilson, wife of Harold, who acquired a significant public profile through her poetry writing and refusal to live at Number 10, and Clementine Churchill, who was not averse to shaking her head in disagreement when she sat behind her husband on a public platform. Whether or not Dennis Thatcher has been accorded the status of an honorary Number 10 wife is not known.

Neither Mrs Blair nor Ms Haste, who has had several works published including a history of sex in Britain, are thought to have approached a publisher about the project. It is not known whether Mrs Blair plans to profit financially from the book or donate the proceeds to charity.The only precedent for such matters is her immediate predecessor in Downing Street, Norma Major, who kept the royalties from her coffee-table tome on Chequers, the prime minister's country retreat.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager, Spanish, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

.Net/ C# Developer/ Analyst Programmer - West London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .NET/ C# .Pr...

Account Manager, Spanish, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Account Manager, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on