Liz Kendall, the Blairite candidate in Labour’s leadership race, is concerned her personal life that has been made an issue by some so-called colleagues.
Ms Kendall, who is single after separating from the comedian Greg Davies earlier this year, has recently felt moved to deny untrue “smears” – allegedly spread by rival camps – that she is in a relationship with John Woodcock, an MP and senior member of her campaign team.
Her fellow MP Helen Goodman also recently said she was backing Yvette Cooper because “as a working mum she understands the pressures of modern family life”, with some inferring that this was aimed at highlighting that Ms Kendall has no children.
In an interview with the i paper, Ms Kendall, 44, said: “We must stop being a party that allows briefings against colleagues.” The shadow care minister added: “It [politics] is not about someone not having a family. My nieces would be deeply upset by that. Family life has changed.
There are more women in my position in their forties who for whatever reason have not had children. Your personal circumstances should have no bearing whatsoever on your ability to lead the party and country. I think the country is ahead of some parts of the Westminster bubble.
Ms Kendall hopes her experience may help to clear the air. “I don’t want anyone being put off going into politics because they fear their personal life will be spread all over the media. We definitely need more women in politics.” Ms Kendall said:
We are a party that believes in dignity and respect for one another. We can’t say that is what we want in the country if we don’t behave like that ourselves.