UK leader takes heat over two kitchens as press shout 'hypocrite'

Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:49pm EDT
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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".


Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband arrives for the Afghanistan service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral in London March 13, 2015.   REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth