UK Politics

Ed Miliband to marry partner Justine Thornton in May

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Media captionEd Miliband said he and Justine would celebrate their wedding "in their own way".

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to marry his long-term partner, and mother of his two children, Justine on 27 May.

Mr Miliband, 41, proposed to Justine Thornton, 40, last year on Primrose Hill near their North London home.

He told BBC News older brother David, who he beat to the Labour leadership last year, was "delighted" by the news.

Ed, who was best man at David's 1998 wedding, has said there will be no best man or bridesmaids at May's ceremony in Nottingham.

But he said David and his violinist wife Louise were the first to be invited and David was "the person I told after my mother".

Speaking outside his North London home, with Justine at his side, Mr Miliband said: "This is something that has been on our minds for some time," adding the wedding would be a "fun" day for "family and close friends".

'Small ceremony'

Mr Miliband, who is MP for Doncaster, told The Doncaster Free Press it was "the right time" for the couple to tie the knot and that it would be a "small ceremony" at Langar Hall hotel near Nottingham, not far from where Ms Thornton grew up, followed by a honeymoon in an undisclosed location.

"This is going to be a fantastic day for us both and I feel incredibly privileged to be marrying someone so beautiful and who is such a special person," he told the newspaper.

"It's the right time for us to do this and I'm really looking forward to a lovely day. We're going to have a party in Doncaster when we get back from honeymoon - which will be in an undisclosed location," he said.

"At the end of the day we're in our 40s and we've got two kids - so it wasn't a case of me suddenly popping the question. This is just something we think is right for us."

There might be a "low key" stag night though, he disclosed.

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Media captionEd Miliband: "I think people are pretty relaxed (about marital status)"

Ms Thornton said: "Ed wasn't even an MP when I met him and at the end of the day I am marrying him because of who he is and not because of what he's doing now.

"We're planning on a small ceremony, all at the hotel with everything at the same place and we're looking forward to it very much."

He has said previously that he would get married, but political events such as the Copenhagen climate change summit and the general and leadership elections had "got in the way".

'Close unit'

Mr Miliband's position as an unmarried father became an issue after his election as Labour leader in September last year.

The bride and groom-to-be already have two children - 21-month-old Daniel and four-month-old Samuel.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast after his election as leader, Mr Miliband said: "I think marriage is a very important institution, but there are stable families that aren't married and stable families that are married.

"My love for Justine is profound and we're a very close unit, and we're very much looking forward to the birth of our second child."

Asked whether he felt being married would be important if he were to become prime minister, he said: "I think people are pretty relaxed about this.

"I don't think people care one way or the other about what other people do in their lives as long as they show responsibility to each other."

The new Labour leader was even offered the opportunity last September to propose to Ms Thornton live on ITV's Daybreak programme, but declined.

"I think it's better to do it in person, really," he said.

"I don't think it would exactly bring out my romantic side to propose on Daybreak, but thanks for the offer anyway."

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