One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

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Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Laura Perrins: Too cool for school Chuka is also too old to have a girlfriend

Chuka Umunna has thrown his stylish cap into the ring for the Labour Leadership. I will probably not follow this bloodbath too closely but one thing did catch my eye, namely Mr Umunna’s girlfriend, Alice Sullivan.

It is not so much Ms Sullivan who caught my eye. I am sure she is a perfectly nice woman and, as is now mandatory in Labour circles for wives or girlfriends, she is a lawyer. It is more the fact that Umunna has a girlfriend – and not a wife. How odd.

Where I come from 36-year-old men do not have girlfriends, they have wives. In my (socially conservative mind) sixteen-year-olds have girlfriends, twenty-six-year olds have girlfriends, heck even a thirty-year-old man might have girlfriend,  although really at that stage it should be a fiancé. But a thirty-six-year old man having a girlfriend? That sets off alarm bells.

We should just judge him on his policies, I hear you say. Fine if that is what you want to do – knock your socks off. I will be judging him on the fact that he introduces the electorate to his girlfriend and not wife, thanks all the same. I have form for this, you should know.

I know what is going through your mind, namely do I have some arbitrary cut off point for the girlfriend-wife thing? Yes, I do and the absolute deadline is 35 unless they have only been together for 6 months. Then they get a year. After that it is decision time.

This issue is relevant to me because it indicates what type of character Mr Umunna is and indeed has been.

If Mr Umunna has been dragging his heels over his decision to get hitched it means one of three things. It could mean he is lazy and is not bothered with getting married; it could mean he is unromantic and ‘does not see the point of getting married’ (as is the way in the hip liberal North London set); or, he is a narcissist and he thinks no woman is really good enough for him. None of these traits is attractive.

So that is my thumbs down for Chuka I am afraid, unless he can persuade me otherwise. And I doubt he can.

Laura Perrins

  • geo

    speaking personally I dont have an issue with chuka having a gf. I’m older than him, never been married but thank the gods mine isnt a lawyer.
    What set alarm bells ringing in my head was the timing of her revealing. She was being deployed as a tool to help his campaign. She was being weaponized in labour speak. Just how sexist and misogynistic is that?
    Her privacy was important to chuka right up to the point she became an asset and could help him in his drive to win high office. Right then her privacy was prostituted to the press and a man willing to do that to someone he supposedly loves will not stint to completely screw over the country for his own ego.

    • I Mcleod

      Spot on. I had exactly the same thought

    • Ben Bow

      How right you are. Chukka is typical of rich men who use women as trophies. Will he do likewise to Labour if elected to high office? Such an odiously hypocritical politician who is so brash as to blatantly flaunt his (hidden) wealth and faux morals, in the faces of those of humble means is nothing more than a charlatan , a charlatan who uses every means available to get his hands on power. And one of them is shamelessly to parade his girlfriend in front of the media. If he loses the race for leadership . . .she is likely to be located in Room 101.

    • Nofanofchukka

      Could it possibly be that, as his profile is about to be raised, as a couple they decided that rather than have her scrutinised by the press they would engage on their own terms? Could it be the decision was down to her? After all, she is the one in the relationship with a proper job. I imagine she is capable of making her own decisions despite only being a woman. Your assumption that this has all been done at his behest and to benefit him reveals more about you than him.

      • geo

        nope, you’re wrong. txted hr mate with psychology degree and she confirmed everything about chuka indicates classic narcissist. its all about him.
        ps: says nothing about me. :o)

  • gelert

    George Clooney had a string of girlfriends before marrying someone, who looks like a drag queen, with the probable necessity for having a wife before running for the US Senate 😉

    • Western Wasp

      Rumours abound about Clooney and it’s the same with this Chuka character.
      Didn’t Rock Hudson try that once as well?

  • Albert Zbingswiki

    Anyway, I’m sure we’re all 100% convinced that this is a totally authentic relationship. Beyond all doubt. Oh, yes, indeed.
    Don’t fight it, Chukky. Take Pride in what you are. We don’t care.

  • TJB

    The thing, I would think that struck everyone, is how he was content to keep his girlfriend a secret right until the very moment he wanted to run for the leadership of the Labour party. It’s almost like he’s ticking off the ‘serious politician’ list of must have items.

  • Charles Dawne

    What if a 36 year old is too conservative for today’s liberal women and after years of dating find that a majority of today’s society don’t share his values?

  • bikerboy

    I think it’s just you.

  • simon1970

    He doesn’t have a girlfriend. He has a ‘girlfriend’ – it doesn’t take a genius to work out what is really going on here.

  • Polly Radical

    Hollande had two on the go at once . . . now THAT’S redistribution!

    • geo

      Hollande had two on the go at once… twice! Now thats energy!
      Ségolène Royal and Valérie Trierweiler
      Valérie Trierweiler and Julie Gaye

      • Polly Radical

        Strong on equality, good to see.

  • James Gibson

    Hi there, 34 year-old man here with a girlfriend who’s 35. We’ve been together ten years – all of them happy – and have no plans to get married. Because we don’t want to.

    Staying unmarried does not equate to unromantic. It certainly doesn’t equate to being lazy. And it’s nothing to do with being ‘hip’. It’s a valid choice that people are free to make in this day and age, without being judged for it.

    Well, without being judged for it except by people like you. I’m no Labour voter, but I admire anyone willing to stand up in politics who doesn’t conform to the normal ‘married with kids’ stereotype.

  • Darren Barratt

    43 here and coming up to 20 years with my girlfriend. Why the swivel-eyed tory loons always base their relationships on paperwork is beyond me. I guess it’s all about the money for them.

  • Airey Belvoir

    There is, of course, another possibility.

    • Michael Simpson

      That the writer is a complete nutcase?

  • Angel

    Is this Jackie Magazine?

    • Katrina Hill

      Oh how lower class of you, this is Clique Magazine…..

  • Mike Robinson

    Cool, they’ve finally invented time travel and gone back to harvest opinions!

  • Simon Smalley

    im sorry disagree you can have a girlfriend at any age look at me im 40 and single just goes to show how out of touch you are in the tory party no wonder 4 million voted UKIP.

  • fuzzydrummer55

    ‘We should just judge him on his policies, I hear you say.’ One sensible sentence in an otherwise stinking pile of crap. Sorry Laura, I would take some notice of what you say but your earrings are awful.

  • Cameron Mintoff

    He’s another Tory arsehole just like you!

  • Olisa

    Nicola Sturgeon who is 44 has been a leading figure in Scottish politics as Deputy Leader and then Leader of the SNP for a decade and only got married in 2010. I don’t know what your point is. Social attitudes have massively changed. Marriage is less common now and divorce rates are up. Grow up.

  • oculardexterity


  • TNL

    So the world needs to conform to your life experience? In a world where we have seen any number of pretty pathetic attacks on politicians over the past few months this still manages to score really highly.

  • Spit-Burn

    This is beyond parody.

  • WirralBill

    Conservative Woman is normally quite intelligent. This isn’t. Unless you’re trying to imply something else about Chuka…….

  • bugalugs2

    Or the traditional reason, he’s a ‘confirmed bachelor’ who thinks admitting he is might damage his career ….

    • durotrige

      Being gay didn’t stop Brown being elected, oh, hang on..

    • David Lindsay

      He should have been a Tory, then. No one would have batted an eyelid.

      But he’s not. Either of them.

  • corinium

    I don’t share Chuka Umunna’s politics, and think he’s another slick London-centric career politician that Labour should avoid like the plague if they want to get re-elected at some point in the next decade or two, but really! Insinuating that a man who is not married with 2.4 kids by the age of 36 (or indeed any age for that matter) is unsuitable to lead his party is poor stuff indeed. Is that the considered opinion of this website nowadays – that its not your policies or character or ethics that matter, just a case of whether you’ve managed to get the little women indoors up the duff a few times?

    I really thought we’d moved on from this little England wink wink, nudge nudge stuff. In this day and age who you care to share your bed with (or don’t as the case may be) should be irrelevant as to your suitability to be a political leader.

    Seems its not only the Left who are capable of being small minded bigots.

  • john light

    This is hilarious, judgmental, deeply unpleasant and utterly vacuous all the same time. Which is quite an accomplishment I suppose.

    It says more about you than him. What about his marital status bothers you so very much you had to spurt it all out onto your keyboard?

  • MarkAtBestDad

    There’s been some good stuff in CW during the course of the election and I’ve enjoyed reading it but, goodness me, this article is absolute drivel. Of course the guy can have a GF at 36. This isn’t even 4th form debating society standard, Laura. 1/10 and learn an Ed Miliband speech off by heart for your homework.

  • Ashley Frieze

    What a truly insightful and thoughtful piece. Thank you for putting the gender debate where it belongs.

  • Jacky Holyoake

    Good grief – I thought this was apiece by Katie Hopkins. It might well have been …

  • ToryGirl

    Playing into Labour voters hands here… this is what they think Tory women are like… happy to just be the piece of skirt. What if she didn’t want to marry him? I guess you don’t think that’s important. You also make a joke about her being a Lawyer, when I thought we were the party for women with aspirations – not against them.

  • Little Black Censored

    Is there any agreement on what the word “girl” means?
    As for the Umunnas, they are an old Shropshire family, and have never been trustworthy.

    • David Lindsay

      He ought to make a television programme about his grandfather, Sir Helenus Padraic Seosamh Milmo QC, the native Irish-speaking scion of the Protestant Ascendency who became a prosecutor at Nuremberg, investigator of Kim Philby, counsel for Liberace, and a High Court judge. Empires never go away. They just come home, until someone who embodies them becomes Prime Minister.

  • MrsBurgin

    This is appallingly prejudiced stuff. Shameful. You can’t manufacture love at a given age. My husband and i married and 35 and 37. We had been together 2 years. We didn’t get married before then *because we hadn’t met*.

  • Cash2010

    I literally cannot cringe enough. What a pathetic awful prejudiced piece of junk.

  • RavenRandom

    What nonsense. I’m not a Labour or Chuka fan but this article is risible.

  • Stuart Hayes

    Laura, is being married a pre requisite to having a good career? It wasn’t that long ago that women having a vote required they were married also. Thank heavens society moved on with such prejudiced views.

    Well, most of us, and apparently not you.

    • Aaron D Highside

      You patronising git, Stuart.

      • Stuart Hayes

        Oh, the irony.

  • Daniel Earwicker

    I don’t know why your readers have the impertinence to question the thinking behind this article. No doubt as a responsible Lady Journalistatrix you asked your husband to check it for any feminine factual or logical errors before posting it.

  • Visual


  • Jon Rich

    Good lord. I have read some tripe in my time, but this truly takes first prize.
    It’s rather telling that an attack on a candidate for the Labour leadership comes from the Conservative viewpoint not based on his beliefs, or policies, but on weather he’s married or not.

    Good job he’s not gay! Imagine the horror!

    • durotrige

      It doesn’t matter whether he is or not.
      But if he is and is trying to beard it that would surely tell us something about him.

    • Western Wasp

      You don’t have to imagine.

  • eocine


  • Jeff Evans

    What a fine multicultural couple they make!

    One wonders if he will make an Honest Woman of her when he’s elected leader, as Ed did.

  • Bradley Scotland

    This is atrocious ahahahaahahahahahahahaha

  • afhtown

    Lovely to see Lady Metroland’s column is still going strong…

  • Chris

    My god, what world do you live in?!

  • Welshboy

    That’s a little bit harsh Laura. There are plenty of men out there who would love to be married but unfortunately, there are selfish snobby women who prefer careers first before even thinking about family and children (if they are lucky). I’m 28 going on 29 soon, would you class me as all these things if I can’t find a woman to get married to?

    • Mez

      There’s nothing selfish or snobby about wanting a career first, in fact the divorce rates along wth cost fo living call it an imperative of survival in the modern world.

  • Jon-Erik Stubbings

    And this is why so many people despise Tories. Vote for them by all means if you must – but there’s really no need to be proud of attitudes like this. I for one prefer ‘shy Tories’ even if they screw the opinion polls up.

  • EnosBurrows

    Perhaps the girl friend was deployed to ward off any accusations that he might be gay.

  • Angela Fotheringham

    please tell me you are joking. This is sick.

  • Katrina Hill

    Speaks volumes for you as a human being ……like a mean girl who needs to be extra mean to gather approval from the other mean girls. Well done you, have a celebratory Pimms

  • pips snipper

    Where can I find a conservative woman that I can keep bare foot and pregnant and in the kitchen.

  • Peter Brown

    Most of those Politicians wives are chosen for them anyway.

  • Neil Ashley

    Just what are you implying Ms Perrins….well I think I know. Bald with blond girlfriend conveniently appearing before a poll or was that William Hague? Or are you suggesting he should remain single like Edward Heath? See, there was another “dog – whistle” there too. Shame on you!

    • David Lindsay

      Oh, he’s not that.

  • Gerard

    I feel stupider for having read this. You should have your free speech revoked.

  • Charles


  • me

    eww. Did you get paid for that?

  • Gareth

    It must be nice to be Co-Editor. There’s no-one to tell you your writing is rubbish.

  • David Lindsay

    I am 37, and half of my male contemporaries have never been married (nor have I), while half of the rest are divorced. The remaining quarter looks 10 or 15 years older than the rest of us. Make of that what you will, but Chuka is entirely typical of men of his, which is my, generation.

  • MC

    What a complete load of b******s. I’m 32 and not married, so you’ve basically suggested if I don’t get hitched within the next 3 years there’s something wrong with me?! I’ve worked hard and not met the right person, does this make me less of a human being?

    Unless you know him personally, and know his situation, why comment? This is an article based entirely on your speculative and wholly biased information. It speaks of your ridiculous opinion, and it angers me that you have access to a public forum to express your horrible views to sizeable population.

    On the bright side, thank f**k I’m not your husband, or worse still, boyfriend…

  • LT

    As someone who has been out there for the last couple of years working really hard to secure our hard-fought majority, reading this crap makes me understand why so many on the left think we shouldn’t be in government.
    Articles (and, if I’m honest, websites) like this make the job of trying to convince people that we are fit to govern really difficult.
    I accept that there are those who are socially conservative, but their place is in ukip, not the modern, forward thinking and tolerant Conservative Party that is governing this country.

    • Western Wasp

      Leftist, “progressive” attitudes like yours are what’s wrong with the country.

      Cameron’s “modern, forward thinking and tolerant Conservative Party” is just Blair’s New Labour with a blue rosette.

      Tolerating the likes of “Chuka” ?

  • Alison Lane

    I am assuming this is a parody account. This *IS* a parody account, right?

  • Don Benson

    Judging by the comments here, Laura, you’ve either touched a
    raw nerve or The Conservative Woman has the pleasure of some unexpected
    visitors – how lovely. Anyway my mum used to say that a person’s private life
    is indeed relevant to whether they are suitable to hold public office; it was controversial
    then and now it virtually amounts to ‘hate speech’. Of course she was right and
    it is just as true today, but in an age when everyone makes up their own moral
    code as it suits them who is to judge? And the worst crime you can now commit
    is to judge; for that particular sin the fires of Hell are simply not hot

    As for your comments on Chuka’s personal arrangements, they
    come under my heading of feminine intuition – something that my genetic
    inheritance will forever deny me but for which I have the greatest respect. And
    I’m sure Chuka, as a contender for the Labour leadership, now also shares the
    same respect, even if he didn’t a couple of days ago. At this very moment, and in
    deference to your greater wisdom, he is doubtless contemplating how to organise
    himself within a more permanent arrangement – even Ed managed that eventually.

  • Tom Parish

    I am amused. The only reasons to get married are 1. Hard work 2. Tradition 3. Low standards

  • BSO

    Oh to hell with it (excuse my language) I agree with you Laura! Yet again. A socially conservative and self aware man would know that the bedrock of masculinity and society is
    husbandry and fatherhood. As I think Laura said elsewhere social libertarianism
    requires big government. A prolonged narcissitic, endless adolescence is not
    the mark of leadership. Commitment, Fatherhood, Providing for children, Sacrifice and Devotion these are the qualities required. See the First Epistle Of St. Paul To Timothy Chapter 3. I do not know if Chuka has these qualities but I think UKIP hope he wins the election.

  • Katrina Hill

    Deluded, timewarp imprisoned, jesus crispies are coming out of the woodwork……and they wonder why religion is a dying culture in reasoned society……you don’t need to get angry, your god will look after you, let the rest of the world burn in sin and filth. As for touching raw nerves you probably should keep your hands to yourselves…..

  • Misses A

    Is this really worth writing about? It’s awkwardly hilarious. I have nothing against the author, I’ve not read her other stuff which might be great, but this is just poor

  • gammosiuwong

    Listen guys, if you don’t fall on your own sword and get married by 36 then what possible use can you be? If you’re not providing for a woman then you can’t possibly have any worth as a man, right?

  • manwiththechildinhisfridge

    Laura-why not direct this tripe at Ms Charlotte Leslie (Conservative, single, age 34) or Natalie Bennett (age 49)?? It’s a sexist double standard. If a woman is single, she’s free spirited, independent, enjoying her life, exploring her sexuality, etc..but an unmarried man is a louse, a narcissist, sad, a weirdo, a self confessed player of the pink oboe.

  • otisrneedleman

    Laura, I am a conservative type but whether this man is married or not is none of your business. Take care of your own life, and leave this man to live his life. Attack his politics but leave his life alone.