Move over Sarah and SamCam ... step up Lady Caroline of UKIP

'Elegant': Lady Caroline at her London home

'Elegant': Lady Caroline at her London home

Stately Sarah, radiant SamCam, Magnificent Miriam; is there room for one more leader's wife to frolic and bloom alongside these hardy perennials in the election spring garden?

Voters, I'm afraid there is. Clacking along in her favourite five-year-old Carvelas comes Lady Caroline Pearson of Rannoch, who was unveiled as UKIP's secret weapon at the party's manifesto launch yesterday.

'Obviously I am going to have to start canvassing,' said Lady P, after her surprise candidacy was announced, before adding: 'Shops. I'm going to start by focusing on shops.'

Before we got to Lady P and her plans, party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch introduced a line up of UKIP candidates that included boxing promoter Frank Maloney standing in Barking, the former Tory MP Christopher Gill standing in Ludlow; a Serbian woman (has she read their policy on immigration?) standing in North Kensington and a bloke they pulled in off the street and standing in the corner in disbelief.

Then the big revelation. Ta da! A candidate who was a huge surprise to everyone, including the candidate herself.

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for - my wife!

'Move over SamCam, move over Sarah,' cried Lord Pearson. 'Standing in Kensington is Caroline, Lady Pearson of Rannoch!'

Dressed in an Armani jacket ('it was on sale'), a dress made by a seamstress and with her elegant legs crossed at the ankle, Caroline Pearson smiled with the modest ease of one whose foray into national politics had been planned, you would have thought, for oh, yonks.

'I decided to stand last Thursday,' she said later. 'There was no candidate for Kensington and I decided to fight for freedom and democracy, like my father did.'

(Daddy, Major Hugh St Vincent Rose of the Scots Guards, was a war hero who resigned from the Tory party in disgust over the Maastricht Treaty. Hubby was cut from much the same cloth).

Yet despite her high-up connections, news of Caroline's elevation to the party still came as a surprise to UKIP. 

Yesterday, browsers on their website were still informed that no candidate for Kensington had been chosen. A search for Caroline Pearson's name came up blank - and it certainly came as a big surprise to me.

Fewer than five months ago, Lady Pearson sat me down in her kitchen and explained why she would never, ever get involved in politics - or become a political wife. 

UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch and candidate for Buckingham Nigel Farage outside the party's office

Campaign trail: Lady Caroline has yet to canvas with her husband, UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch, left, seen here with candidate Nigel Farage

She even refused to have her photograph taken with her husband. 'It's just not me. I support Malcolm, of course I do, but I'm only really interested in my dog charities,' she said. 

Caroline is his third wife and the couple divide their time between London and his deer-stalking estate in Scotland.

She may have been new to the game, but even then, she had that politician's wife look down pat - a kind of terrified sheepdog watchfulness.

David and Samantha Cameron

Spousal support: Samantha Cameron clutched her husband's hand tightly as the Conservatives launched their manifesto, while Sarah Brown, below, offered a smiling Gordon some words of encouragement before Labour's manifesto launch

Prime Minister Gordon Brown with wife Sarah before he launched Labour's manifesto

However, despite this, I thought Caroline extremely nice. I adored the way she pre-snapped Malcolm's Kit Kats into individual fingers for easier eating, but this hardly qualifies her to run for parliament, does it? Even if she is good at shopping.



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'No, I mean that shops in Kensington are being pushed out by supermarket franchises and I would give them concessions,' she says.

What about the congestion charge, a hot topic for all retailers in the area? 'I haven't got a policy on that.' At least Caroline Pearson has a connection to the West London borough.

However, even if she did live in Kensington for years and even went to school there, has she any idea of what she is letting herself in for? 

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah Brown wear hard hats during their visit to the Converteam factory

High visibility: Sarah Brown is a key weapon in Labour's battle to be re-elected

Samantha Cameron serves lunch as she visits the Surma Community Centre in North London

Mucking in: Samantha serves lunch as she visits a community centre in North London

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez joined her Lib Dem leader husband Nick Clegg on the election trail at the weekend

Lower profile: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez joined her husband Nick Clegg on the election trail at the weekend

'Of course I'm nervous,' she said. 'I want to be a player not a spectator. I don't want to stand there discussing how domesticated my husband is.'

Is she saying how wet the other political spouses are?

'I would never say such a thing,' she said. Yet despite those who dismiss the spouses as frivolous, her sudden elevation emphasises our fascination with wife power in this election.

Meanwhile, SamCam wore a pretty frock and sat in the front row with that now familiar Pieta expression on her face as she watched her husband deliver his manifesto.

On her feet, Zara peep-toe wedges, her toes nicely polished a gothic shade of black.

In contrast, Sarah Brown went to a power conversion factory.

She had to wear a hard hat, something she hates - and a pair of special, cover-up, safety shoes. After Sunday's exposure of her battered toes at a mosque, she was grateful for this small mercy.

'Gordon's shoes had extra long laces, mine were more suitable for playing football,' she writes on her blog.

She shoots, she scores - Sarah plays a blinder, again!

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