Whatever happens, be sure to remember that HAMILTONSTYLE first sold Chuka Umunna to you as one heck of a Nigerian (“of Igbo extraction” some ardent readers are emphasizing) that is making serious waves in British politics.
Sunday May 10, 2015 Umunna walked hand-in-hand with Alice Sullivan, an employment lawyer, as he heads to the studios for the Andrew Marr show. He had steadfastly refused to disclose the identity of his girlfriend or discuss her in public until yesterday.
But with a Labour leadership race now in full swing, he appeared to have had a change of heart as he arrived for his appearance on today’s Andrew Marr show hand in hand with 30-year-old Alice Sullivan. It is their first public appearance together. Perhaps it was carefully choreographed to coincide with his leadership bid.
During his TV appearance, Umunna became the first senior Labour figure to say the party was wrong to run a deficit before the financial crisis and condemned Ed Miliband’s attacks on “wealth creators”.
Alice’s father Richard, 63, was a director and head of group resources at Xerox, and the family home is a 400-year-old mansion in Gloucestershire which Mr Sullivan bought for £1.3 million in 2007. It has its own tennis court and came with a ram and 50 chickens when he bought it.
Alice studied politics at Bristol University then took a law conversion course at BPP University in London and worked as a trainee at Hogan Lovells solicitors in London before moving to her current job in 2012. She specialises in employment law and lists her interests as “going to the theatre, travelling abroad, catching up with friends and weekends in the countryside”.
Like Alice, both Umunna and his mother, Patricia are lawyers too and his grandfather, Sir Helenus Milmo QC was a High Court judge who was one of the prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazis after the Second World War. Like President Barack Obama who knew where he was going and paved his way to it, Umunna’s pedigree looks built for leadership too.
Lord Peter Mandelson went on TV with Umunna to publicly endorse him. Labour’s most successful leader Tony Blair is rooting for Umunna too. And Umunna is sizing up for the new role some elders of the Labour Party want to sell him in as the face of ‘New New Labour’ that targets the Bristish middle class while keeping its doors open for the rich elite who might want to duck in.
This is what Umunna said recently for which a Conservative columnist Mark Wallace calls him arrogant: “We should be saying: it is time for parliament to move out of the relic that is the Palace of Westminster and into a new, modern, accessible site fit for purpose…it’s a bit old. Can’t we have something more shiny?”
Warning to Chuka: Britons may forgive his Nigerian patriarchal roots, but they won’t forgive him if he ever ditches his British girlfriend. And if his rivals want him out of the race, they might go for his girl. So this rising Samson had better watch his Alice closely and be sure she isn’t his Delilah.