How setting up chairs led to romance for Doncaster North MP Ed and Justine

Labour leader Ed Miliband is joined by his wife Justine following his keynote speech during his Party's annual conference at The Brighton Centre, Brighton.Photo:  Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Labour leader Ed Miliband is joined by his wife Justine following his keynote speech during his Party's annual conference at The Brighton Centre, Brighton.Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

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Justine Miliband has told how she fell in love with her husband Ed – by helping him move chairs around a Doncaster hall.

The environmental lawyer, who married the Labour leader in 2011, said she travelled more than 150 miles north from London to assist the then-prospective parliamentary candidate at a 2005 campaign meeting.

Mrs Miliband said she introduced herself to party activists as a ‘friend of Ed’s’, which prompted one of them to ask if there was anything more to their relationship.

The mother-of-two also told Young Labour members she is willing to help them in the run-up to the 2015 general election before joking: “After all, you now know I can door-knock, I can move chairs – although I guess falling in love at the same time probably gave it a bit of a different dimension.”

Mrs Miliband said she wanted to speak at the fringe meeting so people know she is ‘more than a dress’.

On her relationship with Ed, Mrs Miliband told delegates: “In May 2005, Ed was the prospective parliamentary candidate for Doncaster North. I was his friend.

“So I went to Doncaster to help him campaign and I was moving chairs around in a hall getting ready for a campaign meeting and I became aware there were three long-standing party members watching me.

“After a while one of them asked me who was I, so I explained that I was a friend of Ed’s and that I had come from London to help him. There was a pause and then the lady said to me, ‘That’s a very long way to come to move chairs, are you sure you’re just friends?’. She was clearly very astute and realised before we did, I think!”

She said she understood the reasons he wanted to hold the position after visiting a working men’s club in Plymouth for a question-and-answer session.

She added: “As I listened, I realised he knew and understood about the people in that room.

“That was it for me. That was the day when I understood why Ed had decided to stand to be leader.”

In his keynote speech to the Labour conference in Brighton, Ed Miliband announced that gas and electricity bills would be frozen for all householders and businesses for 20 months if Labour wins the May 2015 general election.

Speaking under the theme “Britain can do better than this,” Mr Miliband also announced plans to more than double the number of homes built in Britain to 200,000 a year by 2020 and to cut business rates for small firms by cancelling a planned cut in corporation tax for large companies.

Justine Miliband - From child TV star to life as a legal eagle

Justine Thornton was born in 1970, and is a former child actress who appeared in Dramarama and Hardwicke House.

She was born in Nottingham, to Margaret and Stewart Thornton, and educated at West Bridgford School.

Thornton was a member of the Central Junior Television Workshop at the age of 16 and in 1987 starred as Erica, a rebellious schoolgirl, in the hour-long pilot episode The Visit of Hardwicke House, a controversial ITV sitcom that was pulled from the schedules after only two episodes had been transmitted after a backlash over its content.

She later read law at Cambridge, graduating in 1992 and being called to the Bar in 1994.

She was engaged to Ed in March 2010 and they married at Langar Hall near Nottingham on May 27, 2011.

They have two sons – Daniel, born 2009, and Samuel, born 2010.