Week 13: Villain – William Hague

by Jackie_South on March 30, 2015

Tory_VillainThis week, outgoing Leader of the House William Hague earns our Villain of the Week award

In his last act as Leader of the House, William Hague ensured that his reputation will carry a permanent tarnish through his attempt to rig the rules for electing the Speaker.

Hague is an intriguing character: his famous 1977 conference speech at 16, MP before his 28th birthday, cabinet member by 34, Conservative leader at 36, ex-leader at the tender age of 40. And in the following fourteen years he’s been able to play elder statesman, as well as a fairly well-respected Foreign Secretary. When he decided to stand down from Parliament, you might have thought that he would have wanted to look after his reputation.

Instead, his final act as a Member of Parliament he decided to try and pull a snidy little trick to try and kick the chair legs from beneath Speaker Bercow. To try to mollify some nutjobs in the Conservative Party, he hatched the plot to change the rules for how an incoming Parliament elects its speaker to enable a post-election coup against Bercow (who, lest we forget, is also a former Conservative nutjob).

By proposing a secret ballot, he was clearly laying the ground for a cloak-and-dagger knifing of Bercow in May. To make sure it happened, he arranged for the vote to take place at little notice at a time when Labour MPs will have gone back to their constituencies but Conservatives were still around, due to a previously arranged election campaign briefing. No notice of this fairly fundamental change on how the House chooses its most senior figure was given, and indeed senior backbenchers fom his own party who might have dissented were kept in the dark.

Fortunately, some sharp whipping by the Labour Party and the mesmerising speech by Charles Walker prevailed on the day. And so Hague’s last plot fell flat on its face, trashing his own reputation in the process.

So, after 26 years in Parliament, so long to the dishonourable William Hague. Please don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.

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