PM backs Hague over personal statement
By Ian Dunt
The prime minister has backed William Hague over his astonishingly personal statement last night.
The comments came as the foreign secretary struggled to get back to regular business following the sudden resignation of a special adviser.
The newly-appointed advisor to Mr Hague had been forced to resign after “malicious” rumours were spread about his relationship to the foreign secretary.
Christopher Myers, 25, was made a special advisor to Mr Hague after working for him during the election campaign.
Several blogs and newspapers had begun to carry stories on why the appointment was made, speculating at length on the fact that the two men spent nights together in hotel rooms during the campaign.
But in a surprisingly revealing statement, the foreign secretary said the rumours were without substance and that his marriage was fine.
He also revealed that his wife had suffered a miscarriage recently and that the couple were struggling to have children.
“Neither of us would have [shared a hotel room] if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else,” Mr Hague said in a statement.
“In hindsight I should have given greater consideration to what might have been made of that, but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to Ffion and to Christopher.
“He has now told me that, as a result of the pressure on his family from the untrue and malicious allegations made about him, he does not wish to continue in his position. It is a pity that a talented individual should feel that he needs to leave his job in this way.”
A spokesperson for the prime minister said: “We have always given William our 100% support. That was the case yesterday and it is the case today.
“The prime minister totally understands why William made the statement he did and he backs him 100%.”
Mr Hague met German counterpart Guido Westerwelle for talks at the Foreign Office today, as he tried to put the row behind him, but he struggled to conduct the standard press conference without journalists repeatedly returning to the subject.
“Obviously yesterday, as you know, I made a very personal statement, not an easy thing to do, and I’m not going to expand on that today,” he said.
“My wife and I really felt we had had enough of the circulation of untrue allegations, particularly on the internet, and at some point you have to speak out. about that and put the record straight. I think I dealt with all of that in that statement yesterday.
“As you can see, we are getting on with some pretty important global issues today. We will concentrate on those today.”
Internet forums were still awash with arguments about the morality of the media attack on the foreign secretary.
His German counterpart’s name was unpleasantly symbolic for Mr Hague, in that the internet rumours were started by Guido Fawkes, a popular right wing blogger.
Other right-of-centre bloggers were circumspect at the turn of events.
“On the flimsiest of evidence a young man loses his job and the foreign secretary and his wife are forced to issue the most personal of statements, detailing miscarriages and a declaration on the state of their marriage,” wrote Iain Dale.
“What have we come to?”
Guido Fawkes refused to express any regret today, tweeting: “Just in case there is any doubt about this – je ne regrette rien. It was plain wrong for Hague to hire Myers as a SpAd [special advisor].”
Some media reports suggest that Downing Street was alarmed at the appointment of a relatively inexperienced 25-year-old for the position.
Tory backbencher John Redwood wrote on his blog: “Mr Hague himself now seems to understand that it was poor judgement to share a hotel room with an assistant.”
The extraordinary nature of the foreign secretary’s statement, designed he said to put the matter to rest, also shocked Westminster insiders.
The statement continued: “I have made no secret of the fact that Ffion and I would love to start a family.
“For many years this has been our goal. Sadly this has proved more difficult for us than for most couples.
“We have encountered many difficulties and suffered multiple miscarriages, and indeed are still grieving for the loss of a pregnancy this summer.
“We are aware that the stress of infertility can often strain a marriage, but in our case, thankfully, it has only brought us closer together.
“It has been an immensely traumatic and painful experience but our marriage is strong and we will face whatever the future brings together,” he continued.
“We have never made this information public because of the distress it would cause to our families and would not do so now were it not for the untrue rumours circulating which repeatedly call our marriage into question. We wish everyone to know that we are very happily married.
“It is very regrettable to have to make this personal statement, but we have often said to each other ‘If only they knew the truth’.
“Well, this is the straightforward truth.”
Mr Hague made the statement in a personal capacity and not as foreign secretary.