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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 01:35 GMT 02:35 UK
Westminster's big summer wedding
Charles Kennedy and Sarah Gurling
The happy couple posing at their engagement

Everyone loves a good, summer wedding. Apparently.

Even those cynical and despised individuals in the land - politicians and journalists - come over all dopey at the very notion of white dresses, romance, flowers and such.
Charles Kennedy and Sarah Gurling
It's traditional to give the media a kiss...

So it's no surprise to see some summer slush as "good old" Charlie Kennedy makes an honest woman on Saturday of his long time girlfriend Sarah Gurling.

Now, to be fair, you couldn't wish to meet two nicer people.

And only the most churlish would do anything other than wish them the very best of luck.

Puritans snipe

Charles is one of the few political leaders in recent memory to have pulled off the neat trick of balancing his professional and personal lives.

He takes some criticism for approaching his leadership job in a rather more laid back way than many of the more tight-bottomed politicians think is fitting.

A political leader without a wife - well, it's just not natural

He also faces sniping from the new puritan brigade in the above mentioned professions for enjoying himself.

Heaven forbid you can be a serious politician and have a laugh, everyone else is, after all.

Those critics were confounded during the last election campaign, of course, when chatshow Charlie showed he could apply himself with as much, if not more, rigour than the best of 'em.

Talking point

While the big two spouted bucketloads about getting in touch with real people, Charlie just got on with it to some considerable success.

His partner, meanwhile, has carried on with her demanding and successful career while also appearing to quite enjoy life.
The engagement ring
The gold ring with solitaire diamond

Needless to say, the fact that Charles was not married when he became leader was a huge talking point.

It is not that politicians and journalists are backward or anything. But a political leader without a wife - well, it's just not natural.

You only have to ask Gordon Brown about the general reaction to that sort of thing.

Bride, not bridesmaid

Or perhaps just ask Sue Lawley who put the chancellor so famously on the spot during Desert Island Disks a few years back.

Charles Kennedy deserves some admiration for having resisted the obvious, cynical trick and for choosing his own timing.

So, good luck to them both.

Apart from anything else it will be nice for the Lib Dem leader to be the bride rather than bridesmaid for once - if you see what I mean.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Warr
"The shared interest in politics brought the couple together"
See also:

16 Feb 01 | Key People
17 Mar 01 | Politics
10 Aug 99 | Politics
18 Jul 02 | Politics

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