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Political rivals find love in the order papers

PUBLISHED: 21:00 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 05 October 2010

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WEDDING bells are in the air in the world of Tower Hamlets politics after leading figures from rival parties announced their engagement. Cllr Stephanie Eaton, leader of the Lib Dem group on Tower Hamlets council, is to marry David Edgar, former senior Labour councillor and now chair of the Tower Hamlets Labour party.

EXCLUSIVE By Ted Jeory

WEDDING bells are in the air in the world of Tower Hamlets politics after leading figures from rival parties announced their engagement.

Cllr Stephanie Eaton, leader of the Lib Dem group on Tower Hamlets council, is to marry David Edgar, former senior Labour councillor and now chair of the Tower Hamlets Labour party.

It comes after a whirlwind romance that both have managed to keep hidden from the East End political rumour mill.

But the union does have potentially serious repercussions politically.

Lib Dem Cllr Eaton is likely to stand in Bethnal Green & Bow at the next General Election against Labour's Rushanara Ali.

That would put Edgar, who until ousted from the Town Hall in 2006 was widely known for championing the 'Housing Choice' programme, in a tricky position.

As well as being Labour's Tower Hamlets chairman, he also works with Ms Ali as a director of the Young Foundation think tank.

In a joint statement, the couple said: "Over the past year we have been seeing each other socially and have grown close.

"Our friendship has now developed to the point that we wish to live together and be married.

"We hope that friends in all political parties and none will be happy for us.

"We recognise that our relationship may give rise to some concern among party colleagues.

"However, we believe that our personal association does not prevent us from being loyal and committed members of different political parties.

"Neither of us has any intention of changing our party affiliation or reducing our political activity."

The wedding is set to take place later this year.

ted.jeory@archant.co.uk


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