Labour candidate Stephenie Booth:

". . . she turned out to be the wife from hell"

"She has a need for someone and then moves on. She does it with military precision."

"I have never met anyone as able to come on as charming as her, and then to change so instantly"


Is it fourth time lucky for Cherie's father?

Tony Booth to be cited in divorce of the 'wife from hell'

Tony Booth, the Prime Minister's father-in-law, was yesterday facing new controversy over his love life as it emerged he is to be named in a divorce case.

Mr Booth will be cited by college lecturer David Elliott as a co-respondent in the break-up of his marriage.

The legal move follows the collapse of Mr Elliot's marriage to politics tutor and New Labour activist Stephenie Buckley after only four months.

She was seen out with three-times-married Mr Booth, Cherie Blair's father, just three weeks later and is now sharing his home in Glossop, Derbyshire.

Yesterday, Mr Elliott, 43, said: "I am going to see my solicitor and start divorce proceedings citing Tony Booth as co-respondent."

Mr Elliot meth Stephenie, an attractive, slim brunette, in September 1995 while lecturing at Halifax New College. They discovered they lived just a street apart in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, and began a whirlwind romance.


Mr Elliot said: "She popped the question to me. It happened very quickly. I thought it was true love, but she turned out to be the wife from hell."

The couple married in March last year, but split four months later after a row.

Asked if he believed Mr Booth for the break-up, Mr Elliot said, "I have my suspicions. Within a couple of weeks of her leaving me there was a party in the back garden of a friend's house. Mr Booth was there and she was there.

"He is quite a personable guy, but he is 65. Are you trying to tell me she's attracted to his looks. I don't think so."

Only last month, Mr Booth, a reformed alcoholic and legendary womaniser, revealed that he had found new love.

The actor, who found fame playing the 'Scouse git' opposite Alf Garnett in the Sixties TV comedy Till Death Do Us Part, said in an interview to publicise his new autobiography, "She's very highly educated, sophisticated and charming. What's she doing with me?" He gave her no name.

But to the men who have met and fallen in love with Stephenie Buckley, it was a familiar refrain: winning smiles, enticing dates, blissful romance, perhaps even wedding bells - and then a relationship in tatters.

For at the of 42, Stephenie has already seen off four marriages which have brought her four children.

Now former friends believe she may be planning to marry Mr Booth and pursue her ambition to become a Labour MP.

One former lover said, "She does not go into relationships. She is not capable of that. She has a need for someone and then moves on. She does it with military precision. Tony Booth had better look out.

John Stuart, an English lecturer at Tavistock Community College, Devon, was Stephenie's third husband. They were married for six years, during which time her political ambitions came to the fore.


She was co-opted on the Tavistock Town Council as a Labour member, stood for election to the borough council and was shortlisted to become a Labour parliamentary candidate in the 1992 General Election. Mr Stuart recalled: "I have never met anyone as able to come on as charming as her, and then to change so instantly.

"You could have been having the most awful scenes with her and the doorbell would ring and she would be completely calm and smiling. It was uncanny."

Husband number two, haulage contractor Eric Thomason of Rixton, Cheshire, stayed with Stephenie for just six months after their wedding.

The marriage broke up amid allegations of domestic violence and a bitter court battle ensued over Thomason's access rights to their two children.

He said, "It was the most horrendous two years of my life. I wonder how I came through it."

Mr Booth's past is equally colourful. The father-of-seven's previous wives include Cherie's mother, Gale, and the late Coronation Street star Pat Phoenix.

Unlucky in love perhaps. But could the actor now be preparing to take the plunge once more - by making Stephenie the fourth Mr Booth?

See photocopy of article

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