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While the details may not be as seedy or full of political intrigue as those of the Profumo scandal in the early Sixties, Kimberly Fortier’s now notorious extramarital affair with former British cabinet minister David Blunkett has all the makings of a prime-time soap.
The story, which broke during the August holiday and has fed the British tabloids for months, initially centered on the socially and professionally ambitious Fortier, publisher of the conservative political magazine, The Spectator, and wife of British Vogue publishing director Stephen Quinn, and her lover Blunkett, the former home secretary with whom she had been having an affair for three years. Blunkett resigned in tears last week.
Over the past four months, it has widened to include the Quinns’ son William, whose paternity is now in question; that of Fortier’s unborn child, which is due in February; and a Filipino nanny, whose visa request was unfairly fast-tracked by Blunkett’s office — the reason he stepped down. The case is now commonly referred to as Nannygate.
To add to all the drama, another of Fortier’s former lovers came forward last week and admitted to having an affair with her while she was carrying on with Blunkett.
Simon Hoggart, a Guardian journalist and quiz-show host on BBC Radio 4, said he had “a sexual relationship” with Fortier that started before her marriage to Quinn, but which became “very infrequent indeed” afterwards. However, Hoggart, who is married with two children, said there is no possibility that he could be the father of her son William. Even more dramatic are rumblings in the press of a third lover who has yet to come forward with his story.
Earlier this month, Fortier spent three weeks in a private London hospital for stress-related complications to her pregnancy. Throughout the scandal, her husband has stood staunchly by her.
“I love her deeply, and it is returned,” Quinn told The Sunday Times of London earlier this month. He is also known to be a model father to William. “I am not obsessed with the biological details. I think that fatherhood is all about being there.”