Top barrister and ex-wife of Boris Johnson set to be hired by Labour Party

Boris Johnson and Marina Wheeler married in 1993, and were together for 25 years. Credit: PA

Leading barrister and ex-wife of Boris Johnson, Marina Wheeler KC, is set to be appointed as Labour's 'whistleblowing tsar' to help the party with plans to strengthen employment rights.

Ms Wheeler, who was married to the former prime minister for 25 years, will advise the party on reforms to protect women who expose individuals who bully and sexually harass staff, the Independent reported.

She becomes the second high-profile female from outside the party to join Sir Keir Starmer's team in the run-up to a general election.

It follows the appointment of former civil servant Sue Gray, whose report into lockdown parties at Downing Street contributed to the downfall of Mr Johnson, as Labour's chief of staff.

The party reportedly plans to give women subjected to harassment at work “whistleblower” status to encourage them to come forward with complaints without fear of being penalised for speaking out.

Labour would also seek to give common-law wives who live with their partners the same rights as married women, including over property, should their relationship end.

Ms Wheeler, who is an expert in employment law and married Mr Johnson in 1993, would advise the party on its proposed reforms.

She told The Independent it would be a “privilege” to help Labour protect women from abusive colleagues saying: “(Women in the workplace) too often suffer sexual harassment and assault and they pay a heavy price for speaking out. Knowing this, and to keep their jobs, they suffer in silence.”

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry will set out the plans in her speech on Tuesday to the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

She will tell delegates: “That is the difference between a Tory government that pretends to care about women’s rights, and a Labour Party that delivers them.”

Whistleblowers are already protected from unfairly losing their job, but the law only applies in certain scenarios – such as potential miscarriages of justice or criminal wrongdoing.

Government guidance warns that: “Personal grievances (for example bullying, harassment, discrimination) are not covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest.”

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