Just when Ed Miliband thought he’d finally been given some positive media coverage, Jeremy Clarkson was suspended by the BBC for allegedly punching a colleague and knocking the Labour leader off the headlines.
The BBC were invited into Mr Miliband’s home, where viewers were given an insight into his personal life. His wife, Justine, predicted that personal attacks on her husband would get worse in the run up to the election and would become “really vicious”, but declared herself “totally up for this fight”.
The Labour leader has struggled with personal ratings ever since he became leader in 2010 and yesterday Yougov published a poll showing the biggest lead for the Conservatives in three years, with Labour trailing four points behind on 31 per cent. Mr Miliband’s team hoped yesterday’s interview would boost his image with voters, but the interview was shunted down the pecking order when the Clarkson news broke.
Anyone thinking the The Top presenter lacked sympathy were proved wrong however when took to Twitter to make a public apology to Miliband. “Sorry Ed. It seems I knocked your "I'm a human" piece down the news agenda.”
Clarkson doesn’t hold back from attacking Labour on Twitter. Last month he became embroiled in a bizarre spat with Labour’s transport spokesman Michael Dugher, who called Clarkson an “idiot”. The Top Gear presenter spared little time hitting back:
“Labour’s transport spokesman says he doesn’t like Top Gear. Good. We don’t make it for people who wear pink ties,” he tweeted.
Clarkson may have stolen Mr Miliband’s headlines last night but it won’t be the last time we see Justine in the media. She is preparing to step up her public profile in a bid to boost his poor personal ratings and said she wants to defend the “principle of decency of public life”.
Mrs Miliband, environmental lawyer, revealed that her husband’s biggest regret about his job of leading Labour is the burden it puts on his family life.
"Probably his biggest regret about the job is not seeing the children enough or worrying he does not see the children as much as he would like,” she said.
The couple, who married in 2011, have two sons - five-year-old Daniel and four-year-old Sam.
To help them understand the nature of their father’s job, they are told that their dad leads the red team. "There's quite a lot of chats about what the red team's doing and who the red team's helping,” she said.
Explaining why she has chosen to play a more public role as the election looms, she said: "I think over the next couple of months it's going to get really vicious, really personal, but I'm totally up for this fight… because I think this goes way beyond Ed as an individual, I think it's about whether decencies and principle count for something in political life, wherever you are on the political spectrum.
"If you ask me why I am up for a fight, I am fighting not just for Ed but I am fighting for a principle of decency in public life.
“The only reason I first gave a speech to Labour Party members at Labour Party conference was because I was so worried that by about three years in all they knew about me was a dress I wore to Ed's speech and I thought I really want to reassure people that I am in fact more than a dress.”
In the rare spare time Mr Miliband gets, he enjoys watching TV, reading his children stories and likes “a good Chinese takeaway,” she revealed. Among the recent TV shows the couple have watched was the Ricky Gervais comedy series Episodes and the Scandinavian crime drama The Killing.
Asked what they talk about at home, Mrs Miliband said: “We talk about the day with each other - I tell him about my day, my work, he tells me about his day - but quite often we talk about the kids".
Like David Cameron, who revealed DIY was “not my strong suit” earlier this year, Mr Miliband is nothing special with DIY. The couple “shared the chores” and were “equally as bad” at DIY, Mrs Miliband said.
Independent News Service