Leading article: Political marriage

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More public nuptials are on the way. April's royal wedding will be followed the month after by the wedding of the Leader of the Opposition. Ed Miliband has announced that he will marry his long-time partner, Justine Thornton, in Nottingham on 27 May.

Mr Miliband says it was "the right time" to tie the knot, pointing out that "at the end of the day we're in our 40s and we've got two kids". But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that, were it not for Mr Miliband's election as leader of the Labour Party last autumn, he would not be going down this road.

There are sections of the media that argue that it is irresponsible for unmarried couples to have children. This is nonsense. As Mr Miliband himself pointed out last year, "there are stable families that aren't married and stable families that are married". Mr Miliband also doubted whether it was very important, any longer, for an aspirant prime minister to be married, saying: "I don't think people care one way or the other". Yet something appears to have changed in his attitude to marriage since then.

Congratulations are due to Mr Miliband and Ms Thornton. But how much nicer if we could be confident they were getting married simply for love, not for politics.

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