London, Mar 29 (ANI): It has emerged that one of UK's Labour party's most glamorous candidate had posed topless for a photo shoot as a teenager.
Gloria De Piero, a former GMTV presenter, has been hailed as a "star" of the next election and stood next to Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman in a recent promotional photograph.
Her rise, ahead of other candidates deemed more experienced and qualified for the job, has led to controversy and accusations that Downing Street had used "dirty tricks" to help her along because of her glamorous and high-profile image.
Now it has emerged that De Piero, originally from Bradford, Yorkshire, had a set of pictures taken without her parents' knowledge by a photographic agency near her home.
It is understood that she had been trying to raise some extra money by taking part in the shoot, when she was around the age of 16.
De Piero, who was brought up by working class Italian immigrant parents, is known as Tony Blair's favourite interviewer and had a close relationship both with him and Brown.
The photographs, which have not been published, are likely to be a disappointment to Harman, a feminist who has tried to ban semi-nude photographs from newspapers.
De Piero, who had been parachuted into the Ashfield seat, in Nottinghamshire, which had been held by former Cabinet Minister Geoff Hoon, earlier this month, was unavailable for comment.
Labour Party officials deny that she has been chosen for her looks.
"Gloria has been a committed Labour supporter for many years," the Telegraph quoted one as saying.
"The idea that she needed help to become a candidate is nonsense. She is highly intelligent and commands great respect from colleagues in journalism as well as politics.
"What she did as a teenager is irrelevant. So what if she posed for a few risqui photos?" the official said.
The disclosure comes in the wake of the "Lobbygate", which led to former cabinet ministers Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon being suspended from the Labour Party. (ANI)