Mrs Cameron steps back from work after husband's promotion

  • @tompeck

When the Camerons arrived, three years ago, at their new North Kensington home, a "friendly" resident nodded to the removal van and said: "Next time, it'll be Downing Street."

Samantha Cameron replied: "I hope not!"

Yesterday it transpired she'll be spending even more time in No 10 than she might have imagined back then. With barely enough time to have tucked the maternity jim-jams under the prime ministerial pillow, the nation's newest First Lady has handed in her notice and stepped down from her role as creative director of luxury stationers Smythson. She will instead work two days a week as a creative consultant for the company.

Announcing her decision yesterday, Mrs Cameron, who is five months pregnant, said: "This is a personal decision made when I discovered I was pregnant and one I have been considering for some time during what has been an understandably difficult year.

"As a creative consultant working two days a week I will be involved in all the same areas as before; however, I will not be directly responsible for them.

"I look forward to my changed role and balancing it with my new day-to-day life as well as being able to spend more time with my children."

The Camerons already have two other children, aged six and four. Their oldest son, Ivan, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, died at the age of six last year.

Mrs Cameron has worked for Smythson, which is based in London's Bond Street, for 14 years. The company also sells luxury leather goods, and the £1,000 "Nancy" bag is named after her daughter.

She had been working for four days a week, but cut that down to two days during the election campaign to join her husband on the trail.

The baby, expected in September, will be the first born to a serving British Prime Minister for, well, 10 years – for it was in 2000 that Leo Blair was born, becoming the first for a century and half.

Its birth may also mark the beginning of the end of the al fresco Downing Street press conferences that received such a warm reception on Tuesday. The lecterns that Messrs Cameron and Clegg spoke from stood at what is considered the prime spot for a trampoline, as Leo will testify.

First Ladies' roles

Sarah Brown

Founding partner of a leading London PR firm. Gave it up to raise a family and be the prime minister's wife. Cut a discreet figure but was also adept at exploiting modern media to promote her man.

Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair did not abandon her career when her husband came to power. She became a barrister in 1976 and a QC in 1995 specialising in employment, discrimination and public law.

Norma Major

Kept a low profile as wife to Tory PM John Major, doing charity work and writing two books. Awarded a DBE in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition for her charity work.

Mary Wilson

Rather than pursue a career she was often seen with her husband, Labour premier Harold, during conferences and elections. As was then customary, never treated as a campaign asset.