The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Hague comes face to face with Guido

Hague holds press conference with the unfortunately named German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle

If William Hague hoped that his extraordinary statement last night (on the day of a major book release) would end speculation about his private life, he was wrong. The story makes the front pages of no fewer than seven national newspapers and occupied the main debate slot on the Today programme this morning.

In a cruel twist of fate, Hague is in Germany this morning and has just held a press conference with the country's foreign minister, one Guido Westerwelle, who shares a Christian name with Hague's online tormenter. In another remarkable coincidence, Westerwelle is also openly gay.

Elsewhere, Hague has come under fire this morning from John Redwood, who argues, as my colleague Sholto Byrnes has, that it was, at the very least, "poor judgement" to share a hotel room with a special adviser.

Redwood also touches on the disquiet among Tory MPs over Hague's pragmatic approach to relations with the EU:

When will he implement the coalition's promise to end transfers of power to the EU or to give us a vote on such transfers? How does he fit in EU criminal justice changes to this policy? The mutterings I hear from fellow Conservative MPs relate to this, not to the state of his marriage.

The right has clearly spied an opportunity to scrutinise Hague's political life, as well as his personal affairs.