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Here, in her first interview since what she calls her ‘hubris nemesis’, she talks to The heroine of Kimberly Quinn’s new novel is a girl called Katie whose mother Mimi is an ageing pop star and serial divorcer.

Katie, as all children’s fiction heroines must, spends much of her time trying to make sense of her world and at one point finds herself pondering the meaning of ‘home’.‘Katie had never understood that word. The best interior designers in Europe had created it as a showcase for Mimi’s celebrity,’ Kimberly writes, before going on to describe a slick chrome and white décor with requisite water features.

Remarkably, despite his public profile and her media connections, they managed to keep the affair secret, but some time after the birth of her first son, William, in September 2002, Kimberly decided to cool the relationship.

In 2003, Blunkett raised the possibility that he could be William’s biological father and a subsequent DNA test proved that to be the case.

The two women knew each other a little and were chatting when Kimberly – who was heavily pregnant with William – was momentarily distracted by a Braxton Hicks contraction. Then I ask whether at that time, when she was mixing with the great, good and all-powerful, she had felt on top of her fast-paced life.

The former prime minister took command, instructing a shop assistant to (cue deep voice) ‘get that woman a chair’ before seizing Kimberly’s basket and proceeding to do her shopping. Suddenly her tenor changes and, unexpectedly, her eyes flood with tears.

In the middle of the kitchen, however, one space is reserved for a montage of pictures taken the day of her wedding to Stephen, her unstintingly loyal husband.

At 65, he is regarded as an éminence grise of the magazine world and, in the aftermath of the Blunkett furore, he was the only one to emerge with steadfast dignity.

She has a term for her downfall: it was her ‘hubris nemesis’. I was very much taught what was right and wrong and in my perception of things I did something that was very wrong.

In 2004 Spectator publisher Kimberly Quinn suffered a high-profile humiliation following her scandalous affair with the then Home Secretary David Blunkett.

But with her husband’s support and her reinvention as a children’s author, she is finally moving on.

‘My husband is a great man, he really is,’ she says simply.

Inevitably, after everything blew up, she feared that he would leave her.

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