A North East newspaper editor has revealed how he was among the first to know Alan Milburn was to quit government, after receiving a call from the MP hours before it was officially announced.
Peter Barron, editor of the MP’s local newspaper, The Northern Echo, took the call from the former health secretary at 8.30am on Thursday, June 12, three hours before the news was relayed to the world.
Peter said: “Mr Milburn was very calm but sounded subdued. He just said ‘there are no skeletons in the cupboard – it’s just down to the fact that I’m not seeing my kids.’
“He went on to say that the ‘mad life’ he was living was making him a ‘deeply unhappy man’.”
Peter, who has children the same age as the MP’s two sons Joe, (11) and Danny, (6), had had a number of discussions with Mr Milburn over the years about the difficulties of balancing work and home life.
Peter said: “Our families know each other well and we’ve often talked about the challenges of getting the balance right. Obviously, he is in a particularly difficult position because he only sees his two boys at weekends.
“Although I was shocked that he has decided to leave the Government, I can understand his reasons for doing so.”
On learning the news, Northern Echo political editor Chris Lloyd was despatched to London for an exclusive half-hour interview with Mr Milburn in which he talked in more detail about his inner turmoil at not seeing his children grow up.
Meanwhile, Peter was in demand for a flurry of radio and television appearances as the national media caught up with the story.
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