PRIME Minister expects baby. World still turning.

Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, is expecting her first baby while in office, only the second woman to become a mother while premier. Benazir Bhutto, of Pakistan, was the first back in 1990.

She has said she will take six weeks maternity leave during which she will be “contactable” – in between feeding, changing, catching up on her sleep and just watching her baby breathe – and when she’s back at work her partner Clarke Gayford will take over the day to day care. Sounds easy.

Loading article content

It’s what men have always done of course. David Cameron and Tony Blair both became fathers again while in office and skipped back to work with barely a bag under their eyes knowing that all was under control at home. But they didn’t have hormones and stitches to deal with.

Six weeks seems such a short time though, but at least it’s better than the five days a French Justice Minister took after giving birth by Caesarean. Ouch.

Perhaps prime ministers and governments aren’t as important as we think. Belgium’s managed without one, Germany is in disarray as they attempt to work out a coalition, Northern Ireland has been in limbo run from London and even the US closed down for a few days.

So maybe a prime minister with a new baby clamoring for attention is neither here nor there.

New Zealand is a relaxed and civilised country and it will all probably carry on in a relaxed and civilised way. A high-powered working mother will seem even more the norm.

But when women have battled to get a year off with their babies, let’s hope they don’t feel they have to follow the prime minister’s example.

As for those new mothers who want to bring up their babies themselves until they start school, they’re going to seem even more out of step with the times.

Which wasn’t how it was meant to happen.

AREN’T you glad you don’t go to Ruthin School?

The headmaster of the Welsh school there has banned students from having boy/girlfriend relationships and has even threatened to expel those who disobey. Well, good luck with that one.

He’s determined they should all concentrate on their exams to the exclusion of normal life..

“School is not the place for romantic relationships, ever,” he said.

Of course it is.

Education is about a lot more than exams -such as growing up, learning how to get on with people, and yes, falling in and out of love and dealing with high emotions and rejection.

A school awash with teenage hormones seems absolutely the right place to do that – especially as it can provide all sorts of other distractions when things go wrong.

Teenagers who avoid all contact with the opposite sex to concentrate on their work may end up with brilliant exam results. But probably not with the sort of easy social skills that will make them well-balanced human beings.

Or they’ll just ruin university by desperately making up for lost time. Great fun – but a bit of a waste of all those A grades – especially as at Ruthin School they cost £34,500 a year.

MOTHERS of the bride are always going to be a bit bonkers. Sarah Ferguson, right, former Duchess of York, is clearly going to be more bonkers than most.

In an a string of excited tweets following the engagement of her daughter Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank she tweeted “I always say the river flows well to its destiny because of the guidance of a solid rock.”

To which I can only say “Eh?”

And we’ve got at least six more months of this to go.

BARONESS Tessa Jowell, 70, has brain cancer, knows she has not long to live, yet is still determined to help others. She’s trying to push through new rules that will allow cancer patients to try innovative treatments, on the basis they have nothing to lose. Baroness Jowell, pictured above, who as Culture Secretary in Tony Blair’s government helped bring the 2012 Olympics to London gave a radio interview that was even more powerful as the cancer made her stumble over her words.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May spoke in the Commons about the importance of cervical smear tests, even admitting that she, too, found them “uncomfortable”. Some male MPs apparently sniggered. Oh grow up.

Both women were speaking from experience in order to help others. When the chaps have stopped sniggering, maybe they could learn something.

SIR Elton John who is 70 and probably has more money than even he knows what to do with announced this week that he wants to spend more time with his children, Zachary, seven and five year old Elijah.

Then, at the same time, he reveals plans for a three year world tour that involves 300 concerts in five continents, by which time he’ll be 73 and probably shattered.

I wish him a long and happy life but if he’s really serious about spending time with his children, maybe now would be a good place to start.

GRAND-DAUGHTER Maeve, aged four, announced: “When people die, they come back as robins.”

We don’t know where on Earth she got that idea from, but it’s a lovely thought.

Now, whenever I see a robin, I wonder if it’s someone I once knew…

AFTER 600 years, Richmond School is to stop teaching Latin. Shame. It was always proud of its classical teaching – who remembers the splendid and idiosyncratic Jim Brettle who inspired the most unlikely classicists?

Richmond was proud to be one of a handful of state comprehensives to offer Latin. It’s a sort of strange snobbery – as if state schools don’t consider their students good enough or important enough for a classical education.

All I know is that I did four languages for O-level – French, Welsh, Latin and German – and in the million years since then, Latin has been by far the most useful. Still is.

Shame on you, Richmond School.

O tempora, o mores!

AND it’s STILL January. Snow, ice, bills and tax demands. I swear this month is twice as long as any other. Is it only me, or has it already lasted at least forty days?