30 Mar 2011

Labour leader Ed Miliband to marry Justine Thornton

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to marry his long-term partner Justine Thornton in May. Channel 4 News looks at some of the messages of congratulations on social network sites.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to marry his long-term partner Justine Thornton on May 27 (Getty)

Ed Miliband and lawyer Justine have been together for several years and have two sons, but the Labour leader previously said he had been “too busy” to get married.

The ceremony will be held at the Langar Hall Hotel 12 miles outside Nottingham.

Mr Miliband proposed to Justine on Primrose Hill near their North London home.

The couple have decided not to have a best man or bridesmaids. Ed said his brother David Miliband, who he beat to the Labour leadership last year, was the second person to find out about the engagement after their mother.

A Labour of love?

As the first leader of a major political party to live with his family out of wedlock, Mr Miliband has faced criticism about his unmarried status.

But voters were “pretty relaxed” over whether or not politicians were married, he insisted in September when he declined an opportunity to propose on live television.

He also faced embarrassment after it emerged he was not listed as the father on first son Daniel’s birth certificate.

Read more: Who Knows Who - Miliband of Brothers

Because they were unmarried, Ms Thornton was unable to add both parents’ names when she registered the birth and Mr Miliband did not get around to going in person.

The couple’s younger child Samuel was born in November last year.

In an interview with Piers Morgan for GQ magazine last year, Mr Miliband insisted he would not be pushed into marriage for political reasons

The Labour leader met Cambridge-educated environmental barrister Ms Thornton, who is a year younger than him, in 2005.

She works as a barrister for the 39 Essex Street Chambers in London and has earned plaudits for her work, described by Chambers and Partners in their 2010 directory of the legal profession as “intelligent, thorough, enthusiastic and pleasant”.


Prime Minister David Cameron offered his congratulations when he faced the Opposition leader across the Commons chamber at question time.

Channel 4 News has been taking a look at some of your messages on Twitter:

@Ifvish: Red Ed to wed with a Miliband of Gold

@bennyghana: Speeches at Ed Miliband's wedding from Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and of course Ed himself.

@Petewalker99: It’s the alternative royal wedding: Ed Miliband to marry Justine Thornton on May 27 – Any chance of a bank holiday?

@AllisonRockey:Two min interview of Ed Miliband & his partner about their upcoming wedding was far more adorable than anything I've seen on royal wedding.

“On behalf of everyone in the House I can congratulate you and Justine on the happy news of your forthcoming wedding and, I am sure with everyone, to wish you a long and happy life together,” he said.

Unable to resist a dig at his adversary, he went on: “When I was leader of the opposition I would have done anything to have a honeymoon. He probably feels the same way.”

Mr Miliband said the wedding was “a day I’m very much looking forward to”.

He joked that he might ask Mr Cameron for advice about his stag night.

“I may be coming to him in the next couple of months for some advice on stag nights because I know he knows how to organise memorable stag nights.”
Mr Cameron attended a stag night for his future brother-in-law just days before hitting the campaign trail ahead of the election last year.