Fortier appeals for media privacy over Blunkett reports

LONDON – Kimberly Fortier, publisher of The Spectator and the woman alleged to be having an affair with home secretary David Blunkett, has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations and has instead issued a statement asking the media to respect her privacy.

The statement came as the Sun and the Daily Mirror today reported that Fortier is several months pregnant and that child, her second, is due by the end of the year. The two papers appeared this morning with identical frontpage headlines: 'Blunkett's lover pregnant'.

Fortier's solicitors, the Simkins Partnership, speaking on behalf of their client and her husband Stephen Quinn, said she would not hesitate to take action.

"She has no comment to make on the recent speculation in the media about her private life," said the lawyers.

"She asks the media to respect the privacy of herself, her immediate family and her extended family and will not hesitate to take action in respect of intrusive media coverage of her private life."

Fortier was named this morning by the Sun as the mystery woman alleged to be having an affair with Blunkett.

The News of the World and the Mail on Sunday both splashed with the story yesterday but avoided naming Fortier, saying only that the home secretary was involved in a long-term affair with a married woman.

Blunkett, who is divorced, issued a similar statement this morning that neither confirmed nor denied reports about a relationship with the Spectator publisher.

"After my divorce I decided not to talk again about my subsequent private life. I have stuck to that principle over the years, whatever the pressure to confirm or deny a particular story, and defended all politicians' right to a degree of privacy," Blunkett said.

"My personal life is my business and has never compromised my jobs as an MP and cabinet minister."

The home secretary has the support of Tony Blair, the prime minister and Blunkett's friend.

A spokeswoman for Number 10 said: "The home secretary's private life is a private matter. The prime minister thinks he is doing an excellent job as home secretary."

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