UK Govt looks to move on from Hague gay rumours
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Last Updated: Friday, September 03, 2010, 13:42
  
London: The British government looked to put recent controversies behind them on Friday as Prime Minister David Cameron backed his Foreign Secretary William Hague following an aide's resignation over "malicious" rumours that they had an inappropriate relationship.

Hague on Wednesday issued a deeply personal statement about his wife's miscarriages and their difficulties in having children as he denied having a homosexual affair with his advisor Christopher Myers, 25.

"We have always given William our 100 percent support," said a spokeswoman for Cameron.

"The Prime Minister totally understands why William made the statement he did and he backs him 100 percent."

At a London press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday attended by a scrum of photographers, Hague brushed off repeated questions about the issue.

"I made a very personal statement, which was not an easy thing to do. I am not going to expand on that," 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 it and put the record straight."

Hague, 49, said on Wednesday that the speculation stemmed from the fact that he and Myers, who had worked for him for 18 months, had shared hotel rooms.

They were also relaxed pictures of them casually dressed taking a stroll.

Myers has quit his post, with Hague saying on Thursday the advisor was "rather fed up of the political world, and who can blame him?"

Hague insisted the work of his department had not "missed a beat" despite the furore.

Hague's judgement has been brought into question on the issue, including over their sharing of rooms, his appointment of an extra advisor in a time of government cutbacks, and the statement on his private life.

Public relations guru Max Clifford said Hague had got it completely wrong, having "taken a small problem and turned it into a huge problem".

In his memoirs released on Wednesday, former prime minister Tony Blair said he defined Hague as "better at jokes than judgement".

On the domestic stage, Blair was regularly given the run-around by him between 1997 and 2001 when Hague was the opposition leader.

"He was a truly outstanding debater, he had a good mind and a high-grade intellect," he wrote.

"In different circumstances and at a different time, he could have been -- and very possibly may still be -- a great leader and even prime minister.”

"He was formidable."

Britain's new governing Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has been dogged by personal scandals since taking office in May.

Last week, Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt announced he had "decided to come to terms with his homosexuality" and had separated from his wife.

Meanwhile, number two Finance Minister, David Laws, quit in May after admitting failing to disclose that he claimed back rent he paid to his boyfriend because he wanted to keep his homosexuality secret.

Bureau Report


First Published: Friday, September 03, 2010, 13:42


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