Misleadingly titled 'mistress on the state' it got me thinking about a certain Labour MP. Khalid Mahmood (MP for Birmingham Perry Barr) is indeed a most surprising omission from the register. As the latest (as at 20 May 2008) official register shows he employs Elaina Cohen in Parliament. Below are extracts from a 2005 interview with them both...
...In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mercury the couple spoke for the first time about their 'tempestuous' three-year affair. Jewish Elaina Cohen revealed how she still adored England's first Muslim MP despite being constantly briefed against him by his back-stabbing New Labour colleagues...
"They tried to use my emotions to make me hit out at Khalid. They thought I knew things about Khalid that could embarrass him so they wanted to manipulate me into hurting him publicly."
The tangled love life of the Birmingham Perry Barr MP has infuriated some Labour figures. And he has incensed staunch Muslims after abandoning two Muslim wives, both of whom had a child by him.
But Mrs Cohen was keen to show her support for the politician she first met in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2001. "We have a lot of issues to work through but we still adore each other," she insisted. "This is a journey, not the end." The mother-of-two is still renting the plush Birmingham city centre flat they shared for two years. Mr Mahmood is currently 'staying with friends'.
The unlikely couple are vague about the exact reasons for their split. But Mrs Cohen, who was in public relations and journalism before she became her lover's £20,000-a-year parliamentary assistant, insists no-one else was involved. "I've been on dates with a few people since we split, but nothing more," she said.
Sitting across the table from her in a city centre bar, Mr Mahmood was slightly more coy. "I've met women friends for dinner but you couldn't say they were dates," he said...
"It's been a very hard time for me. I went through a difficult divorce, which only came through last week. The hardest thing was leaving my children and making sure they've been OK throughout all of this. "When Khalid and I split, certain people within the Labour Party would constantly put the knife in.
"It's a wonder we've stayed close but we're only here together today because we talk all the time and we know who's been saying what." Mrs Cohen switched from Tory to Labour after getting together with Mr Mahmood."I would have converted to Islam if we'd got married," she added.
"When you love someone you want to commit to them completely." Mrs Cohen says she is now 'entrenched' in New Labour, thanks to her ex-partner."I ran his last election campaign and I'm a member of the local Labour Party," she said proudly.
She left her husband and kids to be with Khalid (God know why - the man's a schmuck) so why isn't this relationship on the register? And could the cynics who say that this relationship is only on ice/hidden to appease the Muslim electorate in his Perry Barr be right?