Tory MP Peter Bone has left his wife Jenny (pictured) for a woman 20 years his junior
Order! Order! Here’s a question you won’t find any right honourable gentleman raising at PMQs.
What makes a 65-year-old married man run off with a woman 20 years his junior? The easy response is ‘lust’, but it is not the full answer. Because another important ingredient in this toxic love potion is a whole heap of encouragement.
It is mystifying to me why younger, evidently attractive women should risk all for the sake of wrinkles, grey hairs and pot bellies.
Yet this is a recurring theme in the endless stream of sordid stories about pale, male and stale Members of Parliament cheating on their wives with younger models.
From David Mellor back in the Major era (and no saint, he), to Robin Cook and John Prescott under Blair, and now Nigel Farage and his Ukip replacement Henry Bolton, there never seems to be a shortage of pretty young things more than prepared to help them do the dirty. Why are they so happy to jump into bed with someone else’s husband?
Do they really loathe other women that much?
It’s a question to which Mrs Bone would undoubtedly like to know the answer.
Mrs Bone is (or was) the wife of Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough, whose strident thoughts from the home-front regularly prompted her husband to ask awkward questions in Parliament that inadvertently built her into something of a character from the Rumpole novels, and nothing short of a political treasure. She is name-checked in more than 60 debates, outstripping some serving MPs.
Tory MP Peter Bone (left) has reportedly left his wife for Helen Harrison (right), a married physio 20 years his junior
But this week we discovered that ‘she who must be obeyed’ was being traded in for a younger replacement. In this case, Helen Harrison, a married 45-year-old brunette physiotherapist and would-be MP. It’s a pathetic situation and Peter Bone could argue that it’s nobody else’s business if it weren’t for the fact that, for the past decade, he has held up his wife as an example of everything that is good in this country.
He frequently used her innate common-sense queries to taunt fellow MPs over Conservative values. David Cameron once famously joked that a large part of his life was about trying to give pleasure to Mrs Bone.
So, did Helen Harrison not notice he was married? Or did she believe that old cliche that his wife didn’t understand him and convince herself that she was the person to help fire his aged ego (and libido) back into life?
None of us is immune to flattery, but why, in the current climate, when we are desperately striving to change the sexual culture, are we women not demanding more of our own sex? If we are at last teaching men that it is unacceptable, in fact unforgivable, to consciously hurt women with predatory advances, then is it not every bit as objectionable to steal another woman’s husband?
Take Ukip activist Jo Marney, for whom a 30-year age gap and his bald, wrinkly look were no barrier to panting passion with her party leader, Mr Bolton.
Given that she is a paid-up member of the party, she must have been acutely aware that Mr Bolton was married and had two tiny children, a one-year-old and a four-year-old, before she dangled her long legs in his direction.
After all, his strong family background was one of his unique selling points as leader. In fact, she doesn’t deny that she knew he was married, but claims his marriage had been over for some months before the pair collided at the Ukip Christmas party and fell ‘head over heels’ in love.
Henry Bolton with his wife Tatiana Smurova-Bolton
His wife Tatiana, however, is struggling with this version of events, doesn’t recall having split up with her husband at any time during their marriage, and is clearly deeply distressed to find herself at the centre of this sordid, humiliating affair.
The unlikely lothario says: ‘I have no doubt I’m going to come out of this, and Jo and I are going to come out of this, as a couple, stronger than we went into it.’
We shall see. Given his mistress’s vile racist views about Meghan Markle, revealed in today’s paper, he will have to choose between his career and his deeply unpleasant paramour. What’s the betting it will all end in tears? Hers.
It may not be total justice for wives, but it will be a shot across the bows.
The secrets of REAL romance…
THE dear old romantic fiction publishers Mills & Boon have produced a guide for the contemporary world called The Rules Of Romance. If you want to woo someone, then forget sending emails or texts – write a letter. And if you do go on a date, choose a candlelit restaurant, hold their hand and maybe go crazy and turn up with a bunch of flowers.
Do we really need to be told these simple things? Yes, I think we do.
According to new research, doing all the chores is bad for a woman’s health. Who knew?
Slaving around the house all day is likely to cut an older woman’s health by 25 per cent. Whereas men who pull on the Marigolds and whip round with the Hoover are healthier than those who just sit back and do nothing.
So, what are you waiting for, boys?
Fork out a fortune … and become a human billboard
LOGO LUNACY: Model Sofia Richie sports the ‘free ad’ look
Gucci’s hip creative director, Alessandro Michele, has made a name for himself by, um, writing the company’s name all over its products.
Logo prints now cover everything from blazers and belts to socks costing £155. It’s a trend that sees the wearer paying for the privilege of walking around in an eye-wateringly expensive piece of clothing that is effectively an advert.
The question has got to be: Why?