Media,  UK Politics

A low for political blogging

It isn’t often you would hear anyone here say “I agree with Iain Dale”, but he has a point tonight with his post tackling his “friend” Guido Fawkes who earlier this week broke the “story” about William Hague and Christopher Myers.

Dale argues rightly that the blog post  marks a bleak day for political blogging as Fawkes used it in what was clearly an attempt to smear or “out” Hague by revealing that the Foreign Secretary shared a room with his then driver Myers whom he later appointed as a tax payer funded Special Adviser.

In his defence Fawkes argues that his story was about questioning whether taxpayers should be paying the salary of someone who might be in a relationship with their boss. The evidence he uses to justify this is that the two shared a hotel room (something Hague has admitted happened “occasionally”) during the election campaign.  It is as, Dale writes, pretty flimsy evidence of an affair:

“So 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.”

Myers has since resigned over “untrue and malicious” allegations made against him, according to the long statement put out by Hague. In the statement Hague denies Myers’ appointment was due to an improper relationship and that his marriage to wife Ffion was in trouble.

Hague also denies that he’s gay, which was of course the crux of what Fawkes was up to. You only have to look at the lewd cartoon that accompanied his post and its bubble of dialogue about coming on expenses. I have no time for Hague, but Fawkes’ scribbling was low.

William Hague’s statement in full

“I feel it is necessary to issue this personal statement in response to press and internet speculation over the last ten days. Earlier this year a Sunday  newspaper began questioning whether my marriage to Ffion was in trouble, and last week another media outlet asked whether there was a statement about our supposed separation. This seemed to be linked to equally untrue speculation surrounding the appointment of Christopher Myers as a Special Adviser. Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and political talent over the last eighteen months. He is easily qualified for the job he holds. Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man.

This speculation seems to stem from the fact that whilst campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms. Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else. 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. Ffion and I believe that everyone has a right to a private life.

However, we now feel it necessary to give some background to our marriage because we have had enough of this continued and hurtful speculation about us. 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. Several years ago one Sunday paper reported that Ffion was three months pregnant, without ever checking the story with us. This made even more difficult the fact that we had only just experienced another disappointment. 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. I will not be making any further comment on these matters.”

William Hague’s statement…

“I feel it is necessary to issue this personal statement in response to press
and internet speculation over the last ten days. Earlier this year a Sunday
newspaper began questioning whether my marriage to Ffion was in trouble, and
last week another media outlet asked whether there was a statement about our
supposed separation. This seemed to be linked to equally untrue speculation
surrounding the appointment of Christopher Myers as a Special Adviser.
Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and political talent over the last
eighteen months. He is easily qualified for the job he holds. Any suggestion
that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly
false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship
with any man.

This speculation seems to stem from the fact that whilst campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms. Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else. 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. Ffion and I believe that everyone has a right to a private life.

However, we now feel it necessary to give some background to our marriage because we have had enough of this continued and hurtful speculation about us. 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. Several years ago
one Sunday paper reported that Ffion was three months pregnant, without ever
checking the story with us. This made even more difficult the fact that we had
only just experienced another disappointment. 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. I will not be making any further comment on these matters.”

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