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« David Cameron's candidacy dealt two blows | Main | Which pundits are backing which candidates? »

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Jonathan Sheppard

Perhaps you know more than me about who was asked and who refused. I think at some point it is acceptable for members to spend some time on the backbenches. You mention Hague - even he has spent the last few years on the back benches, with no committee responsibilities at all. I wouldn't for one minute call him a refusenik - would you?

Bellman

"I think at some point it is acceptable for members to spend some time on the backbenches."

Agreed, if they have done a lot of service in a high-profile job. Wouldn't criticise Hague at all.
For ex-leaders, taking time out after leaving the leadership is sensible. It gives the new leader a clear run, as well as the ex-leader time to re-join the real world.

I would argue though that Hague should now be prepared to return to the front benches if the new leader asks him to. He should not stay off indefinitely. The Party needs him back on the front bench because it needs his talents. If he doesn't want to serve in frontline politics, for how long should he remain an MP? He doesn't need the salary after all.

Hague as Shadow Chancellor (assuming the new leader doesn't give the job to Willetts) would strengthen any shadow cabinet. The added plus is that there would be less of the usual leader-treasury team tension, because Hague probably doen't want the leader's job again (for a while at least).

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