Ed Miliband's wife condemns 'nasty' personal attacks on Labour leader

Ridicule of my husband will put principled people off politics, says Ed Miliband's barrister wife Justine

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Labour leader Ed Miliband and his wife Justine
Labour leader Ed Miliband and his wife Justine

Ed Miliband’s wife Justine has condemned “nasty” and “brutal” attacks on her husband - and warned that the way he is treated could stop “principled, decent people” getting involved in politics.

Justine Thornton condemned “personal attacks” on her husband as she spoke to party activists at a private meeting in Manchester, where the party is holding its annual conference.

She did not give details of the comments she was objecting to. But Mr Miliband has been subjected to personal attacks by parts of the national media, which have dubbed him “Odd Ed”, compared him to Plasticine character Wallace, from the Wallace and Gromit cartoons, and ridiculed him for messily eating a bacon sandwich.

She said: “We are less than a year away from a general election. People are saying to me now, what’s it going to be like for you over the next year? What’s it going to be like for your family? How do I feel about some of the personal attacks on Ed?

“Well, the answer is that the way I see it, we are in a fight.”

But she added: “On a more personal level it seems to me it’s about whether principles and decency count for something in public life.

“It’s about Ed, and all the other politicians who try to do the right thing despite the personal attacks.

“And it’s about all those principled, decent people who aren’t in politics, who might think about coming into politics and then think they won’t because the personal price seems just too great.

“So those are the reasons why I am up for this fight over the next eight months, however nasty, however personal, however brutal it gets over the next eight months, I am up for this fight.”

Ms Thornton, a Cambridge graduate and barrister, said she had decided to speak out because people assumed she was “a dress” - a decorative politician’s wife with nothing to say.

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