UK leader takes heat over two kitchens as press shout 'hypocrite'
By Andrew Osborn
LONDON (Reuters) - British left-wing leader Ed Miliband hoped to win more votes by inviting a TV crew into his home. Instead his election rivals have gleefully seized on the revelation that the would-be "man of the people" has two kitchens in his 2 million pound home.
With around two months to go before what's expected to be an unusually close national poll, Miliband is now facing a barrage of jeers from Britain's mainly right-wing press who claim the face of the main opposition party is a hypocrite for campaigning on a promise that he understands the working class.
"Exposed: Eddie Two Kitchens," said a headline in the right-leaning Sun newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch, on Friday. It has long mocked the Labour leader as a socially awkward left-wing nerd.
Criticizing someone for having two kitchens may sound odd to non-Britons. But in a country still obsessed by the remnants of its class system, by house prices, and by the gap between the rich and poor, it carries a peculiar political force.
The existence of Miliband's second kitchen only came to light after the Labour leader - whose personal popularity trails that of Prime Minister David Cameron - agreed to a BBC interview with his wife Justine, who portrayed her husband as a victim of vicious media attacks.
The couple were filmed in a small plain kitchen drinking mugs of tea and wearing casual clothes.
The press initially mocked the kitchen for appearing too modest. A columnist for the Daily Mail - also the wife of a senior Conservative and close Cameron ally - said it looked like a communist housing project and showed the Milibands were "aliens".