Miliband's unmarried status is unlikely to bother voters
Monday 27 September 2010
Ed Miliband has scored a minor historic first by being the only unmarried man ever to be elected leader of the Labour Party – though that says more about how society has changed than it says about him.
He is in a relationship with Justine Thornton, a 40-year-old, Cambridge-educated environmental lawyer. They have an 15-month-old son, Daniel, and another boy is due in November – raising the possibility that in 40 years the brothers will be fighting to follow their father's footsteps as leader of the Labour Party.
Until the 1990s, the revelation that a politician had had a child outside marriage was potentially career destroying, and one Sunday paper referred yesterday to the old-fashioned concept of "wedlock", but the new Labour leader's married status is unlikely to affect his standing with the public.
When questioned about his status by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Miliband said that he thought they would get around to getting married, but did not say when.
"Ed does believe in marriage," said a spokeswoman yesterday, "but he doesn't think for one second that he loves Justine any less or that they are in any less of a strong relationship because they aren't married."
Ms Thornton was in Manchester to witness her partner's triumph, but headed back to London yesterday. She will return tomorrow to listen to him deliver his first leader's speech. Like Nick Clegg's wife, Miriam, she will continue with her legal career rather than give up her job, like Samantha Cameron, and drop into the role of a politician's wife.
The couple met five years ago, and live together in Primrose Hill, north London, close to where the Miliband brothers grew up. David Miliband lives nearby.
They kept their relationship out of the public eye until March last year, when right-wing newspapers went on the attack because he was the climate change secretary, and she was advising Eon, the German energy company.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change asserted that Ms Thornton had not worked on any cases "in which DECC is the decision-maker".
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...