Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First Picture: Blunkett and 'The Love of His Life'; New Woman in Blunkett's Life Runs Tory Party 'Bible'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First Picture: Blunkett and 'The Love of His Life'; New Woman in Blunkett's Life Runs Tory Party 'Bible'

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

THIS is the first picture of David Blunkett with the married woman said to be "the love of his life".

Kimberly Fortier, 43, a mother of one, was photographed last month with him at a party thrown by The Spectator magazine, where she is publisher.

Neither American Ms Fortier nor Mr Blunkett, 57, were saying anything about their alleged relationship today.

Ms Fortier is married to Stephen Quinn, who also works in magazine publishing. According to reports, the Home Secretary and Ms Fortier have become increasingly close since meeting at a dinner party in 2001.

Described as vivacious and bright, she was given a seat next to Mr Blunkett at a state banquet for George Bush at Buckingham Palace last November.

Mr Blunkett, who was divorced in 1990 and has three sons from his former marriage, has consistently refused to discuss his private life.

He maintained today that his personal life had no bearing on his ability to carry out his job.

He was backed by Tony Blair, whose office said: "The Home Secretary's private life is a private matter. The Prime Minister thinks he is doing an excellent job as Home Secretary." The Spectator is a Rightwing weekly known as the "Tory Party bible".

It recently described Mr Blunkett as a "bossy boots" and "our autocratic Home Secretary".

Spectator editor and Tory MP Boris Johnson said of Ms Fortier: "She is a terrific publisher and has my complete support."

The first claim that Mr Blunkett had become close to an unnamed married woman came in the News of the World yesterday.

The paper claimed they met for an hour last Wednesday at his London home for a heart-to-heart talk because the relationship had reached a crisis point.

The insider was quoted as saying: "The future of their relationship is unresolved. They are torn. …

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