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What happened to William Hague MkI?

Tim Montgomerie

Hague-Blue-Skies I write about William Hague for today's Times (£) noting his massive contribution to the Conservative Party as our leader. He and Lord Ashcroft brought the party back from the edge of bankruptcy from 1997 until 2001. He kept the whole party together when it was at its lowest ebb. And, of course, he led the campaign against the €uro. But, I argue, the Hague of 2010 is very different to the one of 2001:

"William Hague proves the law of first impressions. It is nearly ten years since the man who is now Foreign Secretary stood on the back of a lorry, promising to save the pound. That is the image that remains in the public mind but Mr Hague’s fight-them-on-the-beaches patriotism is a decade old. Journalists may still think of the former Tory leader as his party’s leading Eurosceptic, still viewing him through the lens of 2001, but the footsoldiers, who fight the transfer of ever more powers to Brussels, laugh at that description. Hague Mk II has not become an enthusiast for European integration but the fire has been extinguished from his belly. Since coming to office, Mr Hague has broken his promise to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU at the earliest opportunity. He did not seek to repatriate powers in return for accepting Angela Merkel’s proposed treaty amendment on eurozone goverance. The Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister simply accepted her request, arguing, controversially, that her demands would have no material impact on Britain."

This matters.Taking just one example, as Mark Field MP writes in this morning's Telegraph (not yet online, here it is), EU regulations threaten the future of our financial services industry. We need the Hague of 2001 but I fear he's gone for good.


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