Steerpike

Will Tristram Hunt’s business-savvy wife be voting Labour?

Will Tristram Hunt's business-savvy wife be voting Labour?
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It was his contempt for nuns that got shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt into trouble on last week’s Question Time, but there was another notable line worth revisiting. A tetchy Hunt hit back at an audience member who accused him of failing to understand the needs of small business owners, struggling to pay their bills:

‘My wife runs a small business, so I know about the challenges facing small business in my family, so don’t give a lecture on that.’

Now that Hunt has brought his wife into the debate, Mr S wondered how tough life has been for Mrs Hunt, the small business owner. Juliet Thornback is a designer of upmarket homeware. Her company, Thornback and Peel, 'create beautiful, intricate hand screen-printed pieces for the home' and they don't come cheap.

Entry-level products include silk hand-printed, duck feather cushions at £55 a pop. If you have got a spare grand kicking about, then why not pick up one of her vintage upholstered chairs in her signature Blue Rabbit & Cabbage ivory linen? Thornback and Peel are also famous for their wallpaper, that comes in at £72 per roll.

Remember all the stick that George Osborne got for saying he understood small business because he is heir to the Osborne & Little wallpaper millions? For comparison, their stuff starts at the cheaper price of £55 per roll.

With £102,469 worth of assets and £18,044 in the bank as of November 2014, his wife seems to be struggling pretty successfully. The question is, as a business owner, is she voting Labour?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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Topics in this articlePoliticsquestion time