Tory MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies defied the virus gloom yesterday by tying the knot in a Westminster ceremony.
Former Cabinet Minister and TV presenter Ms McVey wore a distinctive white percher hat with partial birdcage veil and a custom-made dress from Philip Armstrong as she married the MP in Parliament’s historic St Mary Undercroft chapel.
Meanwhile, the Doncaster-born groom, 48, and MP for Shipley, wore a suitably true blue suit.
Former Cabinet Minister and TV presenter Esther McVey, pictured left and right, wore a distinctive white percher hat with partial birdcage veil and a custom-made dress from Philip Armstrong as she married the MP in Parliament’s historic St Mary Undercroft chapel
Esther and Philip both looked delighted as they emerged from the church after the ceremony. They were pictured staring into each other’s eyes
But marrying during the pandemic came at a price, as the couple, who have been dating for five years, had to uninvite dozens of guests to meet Covid rules limiting wedding parties to 30 – and ditch plans for a gospel choir.
Liverpudlian Esther, MP for Tatton, joked: ‘When [the guest list] shrinks by this much, so does the cost. And surely a Yorkshireman could see the silver lining in that.’
She added: ‘You wait 52 years to get married and along comes coronavirus. I said to Philip, maybe the big guy in the sky is trying to tell us something.
‘But Philip doesn’t always get my dark sense of humour!’
Esther arrived for the ceremony in the back of a classic-style Beauford car which bore a blue ribbon
She was seen emerging from the car in her stylish dress and high heels as a male companion looked on
Esther carried a bouquet of flowers with her into the church and wore a fascinator which matched her dress
The MP and former cabinet minister was later pictured emerging from church with Philip after the couple had tied the knot
Other designs from Knutsford-based Mr Armstrong, whose wedding frocks sell for about £7,000, have been worn by A-listers including Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Nicole Scherzinger and Mel B.
The couple announced in April 2019 that they were planning to marry.
In an interview with the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir last year, Esther revealed that Philip had asked her to marry him.
She said at the time that, ‘I haven’t got a date and I haven’t got a ring, but we hope to marry sometime next year.’
The couple, who are both arch-Brexiteers, met in 2011, when Esther was impressed by Philip being one of the first MPs to campaign to leave the EU.
Philip had his hand around his new wife’s waist as she carried her bouquet of flowers, the colour of which matched her dress
After the ceremony Esther proudly showed off her wedding ring and the scene was snapped by the photographer she had hired for the occasion
She and Philip gave each other a smile after they had walked down the steps from the church on what turned out to be a sunny day
But Esther said she was attracted by her fellow MP’s ‘cracking sense of humour.’
‘He makes me laugh so much. And he is the most supportive man I have ever met. He’s been there for me in good times and bad,’ she said.
She declared that Philip, who separated from his first wife in 2012, was the man ‘I am going to spend the rest of my life with’.
However, Esther, who ran to be Conservative leader after Theresa May announced her intention to resign as Prime Minister in May last year, said she and Philip did not see themselves as a ‘dream team’ power couple.
Esther’s outfit also included a pair of snow-white heels which she was seen wearing as Philip walked down steps behind her
The guests who were able to attend the slimmed-down wedding posed for a group photo alongside the bride and groom
The MP had her hair styled in a bun for the special day in central London. She was later seen walking back up the steps of the church
Esther said she was attracted by her fellow MP’s ‘cracking sense of humour’. Pictured: The couple hold hands as they stare affectionately at each other
‘We’re not exactly Jay Z and Beyoncé, are we? Maybe you could call us Philly D and Ezzy?’
Esther revealed that she used darts to decide on who would make it on to the much smaller guest list for her wedding, for which she had originally planned to invite 150 people.
‘We can only invite a maximum of 20,’ she said.
‘That includes the bride, the groom, the vicar, the organist and the photographer.’
Her solution was to blindfold herself with a face mask and throw 15 darts at a board featuring the faces of potential guests.
‘Philip left it to me to come up with this system. Another use for a face mask, to ensure ultimate in fairness.’
What are the latest restrictions on wedding ceremonies?
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, receptions for weddings or other celebrations are limited to no more than 30 people.
That includes the celebrating couple, guests and third-party suppliers. It does not include venue staff or catering staff.
The Government says in their guidance that everyone involved must adhere to social distancing guidelines, which are to stay two metres apart or one metre when two is not possible.
The other restrictions include:
- All food and drink should be served by staff rather than other guests.
- Dancing should not be permitted due to the increased risk of transmission.
- Activities being watched by attendees, such as cake-cutting, should be done whilst maintaining social distancing.
- Speeches should be undertaken outside or in well ventilated areas wherever possible.
- Social distancing between the speaker and observers should be maintained at all times and speakers should not raise their voices.