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16 June 2014updated 28 Jun 2021 4:45am

John Humphrys accuses William Hague of ignoring “what really mattered” by attending sexual violence conference

The Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie co-chaired the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit last week. Some of the media have decided this was frivolous hobnobbing.

By media mole

Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys is the latest in old, white, male journalists to suggest the Foreign Secretary was being frivolous attending last week’s sexual violence in conflict summit.

Humphrys’ accusation of William Hague looking “starstruck” and diverting from “what really mattered” follows a weekend of negative coverage, including the Mail on Saturday accusing the minister of “hobnobbing”, and Sky anchor Adam Boulton’s Sunday Times column headlined, “Look away from Angelina, Mr Hague, and you’ll see Iraq in flames”

On the Today programme this morning, in what was supposed to be an interview about the latest developments in Iraq, Humphrys decided to “timidly” (his words) suggest Hague should not have been attending the conference by Angelina Jolie’s side, with such turmoil unfolding in the Middle East.

He said to Hague: 

You must’ve been a bit embarrassed that with a full-blown crisis in the Middle East, you were in all the papers being photographed with Angelina Jolie – and no one’s suggesting that rape, which is what that conference was all about, isn’t a massive cause for concern, obviously it is – but it did look as if you were a bit starstruck and as if it was a bit of a diversion from what really mattered… 

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You must’ve known the pictures in the papers were going to be of you with a very beautiful, very famous international superstar?… A bit embarrassing for you?

Here’s the whole interview:


This mole “timidly” suggests it is Humphrys alone who should be “a bit embarrassed”.