Furious Quinns launch tirade against Blunkett

New row over paternity of second son. He breached our privacy says husband
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Indy Politics

David Blunkett's hopes of a return to front-line politics were dealt a body blow yesterday when his former mistress, Kimberly Quinn, and her husband Stephen angrily accused him of destroying their family's privacy.

David Blunkett's hopes of a return to front-line politics were dealt a body blow yesterday when his former mistress, Kimberly Quinn, and her husband Stephen angrily accused him of destroying their family's privacy.

The outburst will add yet more bitterness to the six-month battle over the paternity of Mrs Quinn's older child, and will cast a dark shadow over Mr Blunkett's prospects of a political comeback.

In public, Mr Blunkett refused to counterattack, saying it would be "unseemly" to engage in a public argument with the couple. Privately, he is convinced that it was someone close to the Quinns who leaked to yesterday's Sun newspaper the result of the latest DNA test, which established that he is not the father of Mrs Quinn's second child, Lorcan, born last month.

Although no one has said so officially, it is believed that the test also showed no DNA link between the baby and Stephen Quinn. For the Quinns the publicity has opened up the hellish prospect of a tabloid hunt to identify the father.

Friends had to rally round yesterday to help Mr Blunkett escape from his Sheffield home, where journalists and photographers were waiting outside hoping for a statement. He joked to them that the experience had given him an insight into what house arrest felt like.

The Quinns were also besieged by journalists, at their home in Mayfair, where Stephen Quinn issued a statement on behalf of himself and his wife. He said: "We are angry that Mr Blunkett has yet again chosen to talk to the press about matters concerning our family. It is deeply regrettable that Mr Blunkett breached our family's privacy causing further upset and press intrusion in our lives.

"We deplore the public discussion that has begun in respect of our one-month-old baby son who above all deserves anonymity, protection and a peaceful, happy childhood." He added: "Mr Blunkett has no right to discuss matters relating to our baby or our family with the press."

The outburst was prompted by a statement put out by Mr Blunkett, through the Labour Party press office, early yesterday morning, after The Sun had reported the result of a DNA test ordered by a family court shortly before Lorcan's birth.

The court is already dealing with a dispute over contact with Mrs Quinn's older child, William, after a DNA test established that Mr Blunkett is the two-year-old's biological father. A judge decided in January, shortly before Lorcan was born, that he should be tested too.

The results were given to Mr Blunkett and Mrs Quinn at least two weeks ago, but were later leaked to The Sun. Mr Blunkett is said to be convinced the leak was from someone connected to the Quinns through The Spectator magazine, of which she is the publisher. But yesterday's statement from the Quinns makes it clear that they think Mr Blunkett is responsible.

A spokesman for Mr Blunkett said yesterday evening: "It was The Sun newspaper who broke this story, not David Blunkett. It has never been David's desire to deal with what he still regards as a private matter in the public arena.

"Mr Blunkett has no intention of engaging in an unseemly public debate, and, with reference to Mrs Quinn's recently born baby, recognises the issue is now entirely

their affair." The outbreak of mutual suspicion is a setback for Tony Blair, who had been cheered by the news that Mr Blunkett was not Lorcan's father. The Prime Minister did not want his former home secretary embroiled in another paternity battle when a general election is looming.

Labour's election bosses want to bring Mr Blunkett back on to the campaign trail, so that he can reinforce the message that Labour is tough on crime and terrorism. Mr Blair is said to want him back in the Cabinet when the election is over.

Mr Quinn said in his statement: "The results of the DNA tests referred to by Mr Blunkett have been known for over two weeks. We had said nothing about the results as this is a private matter and only make this statement in respect to Mr Blunkett's comments. No further testing is required. Lorcan is our son.

He went on: "All matters relating to young children should be kept private, as the family courts have made clear. We have not spoken to the press about our baby son and will not do so in the future.

"We seek to protect our young family whom we love deeply, and to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings in the family courts of this country. We have nothing further to say and ask that everyone please respect our family's request for privacy."

Mr Blunkett is known to have claimed consistently in private that he has done nothing to breach the privacy of either child, and believes that the leaks come from people who are in contact with the Quinns. Friends are adamant that he was taken by surprise when told by The Sun that they knew the results of Lorcan's DNA test.

Yesterday morning, friends had to help Mr Blunkett avoid the press pack on the doorstep of his Sheffield home and move him to his cottage in Derbyshire to escape their attention.

He joked before he left that the experience had taught him what house arrest felt like. "Since December, I feel that I've had imprisonment without trial," he said.

Mr Blunkett resigned as Home Secretary in December after Mrs Quinn accused him of fast-tracking a visa application for her nanny, though he denied having knowingly done anything wrong.