Tory colleagues accuse William Hague of naivety over gay rumours
Foreign secretary William Hague has been criticised by Tory grandees who questioned his judgment.
Senior party figures Lord Tebbit and John Redwood raised concerns about him sharing a hotel room with a young male aide and also questioned the extraordinarily personal statement he released on Wednesday.
The statement was released after internet gossip circulated about Mr Hague’s sexual orientation and his relationship with 25-year-old special advisor Chris Myers, who resigned this week.
In it, Mr Hague, 49, detailed his wife Ffion’s numerous miscarriages in an attempt to prove he is not gay.
He also revealed that the couple had lost a pregnancy during the summer. Mrs Hague is understood to be a deeply private person, who has never granted interviews to the media.
A number of political figures have suggested he was given poor PR advice and reports suggest he made the statement against the advice of Tory press handlers.
Yesterday, Lord Tebbit said he had been “naive at best, foolish at worst”, while Mr Redwood said: “Mr Hague seems to believe that it was poor judgment to share a hotel room with an assistant.”
The Speaker’s wife, Sally Bercow, also criticised Mr Hague for sharing the intimate details of his wife’s medical history.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “On a human level, I felt really sorry for Ffion Hague and for William. But my first thought was: why are you doing this? You don’t need to disclose this level of detail to prove you’re not gay. I think he was given duff PR advice.”
Yesterday, PR expert Max Clifford said that the statement had “turned a small problem into a huge problem” for Mr Hague.
Anonymous senior Conservative MPs have also criticised him. One told the Daily Mail that while there was sympathy for the minister, MPs were “astonished” that he “would be so stupid as to put himself in this position by bunking up with a member of his staff”.
There has been speculation in the last 24 hours that the foreign secretary will leave politics over the controversy but this has been rubbished by party aides.
When announcing Mr Myers’ resignation on Tuesday, Mr Hague said: “He is clearly someone who is rather fed up with the political world – and who can blame him?”