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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK
Mo Mowlam's widower seeing Short
Clare Short
Clare Short and Mo Mowlam were Cabinet colleagues
Former Cabinet Minister Clare Short is having a relationship with the husband of her late colleague Mo Mowlam, who died last August.

Jon Norton, who was married to Ms Mowlam for 10 years, confirmed the couple were seeing each other in an article for the New Statesman magazine.

He said he felt their liaison was not a public matter and that recent press reports had been intrusive.

"Clare and I are seeing each other and have made no secret of it," he said.

'Not a public figure'

Saturday's Daily Mail featured a photo of Mr Norton with Ms Short and claimed that the former international development secretary was "comforting" the widower after Ms Mowlam's death last year.

Jon Norton
The most upsetting thing is that the photograph made me look much balder than I thought I was
Jon Norton

Mr Norton said the article was "essentially true", but he argued: "All I am is an ex-banker who was made redundant in his forties and took up painting pictures - not a person who has sought public attention or deserves it.

"I can see that if you use the media to advance your career you should run the risk of press intrusion into your private life.

"But if you are just a normal person trying to live a normal life after coming through a rather testing period, I'm not sure they have the right to investigate your shopping habits."

He said he felt it was too "trivial" to go to the Press Complaints Commission about and the "most upsetting thing" was that the photograph made him "look much balder than I thought I was".

Good Friday Agreement

Ms Mowlam, who was Redcar MP from 1987 to 2001, died in August last year aged 55.

She was admitted to hospital following a fall at home and never regained consciousness. She had previously suffered a brain tumour.

Ms Mowlam married Mr Norton in 1995. She joined the Cabinet with Ms Short after Labour's victory in 1997.

As Northern Ireland secretary she oversaw the talks which led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

In 1999 she was replaced by Peter Mandelson, and became Tony Blair's cabinet "enforcer" after turning down the job of health secretary. She stood down as an MP in 2001.

A former key ally of Mr Blair, who helped organise his leadership bid in 1994, she became increasingly disaffected with his premiership and was a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq - a view she shared with Ms Short.

Blair leads tributes to Mo Mowlam
19 Aug 05 |  Politics
Political tributes to Mo Mowlam
19 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland
'Remarkable' Mo Mowlam dies at 55
19 Aug 05 |  Politics

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