William Hague reminded viewers of his political skills this morning during a confident interview on Andrew Marr’s BBC1 programme. Swiping aside Mr Marr’s questions on the cannabis revelations he said that David Cameron had the best all-round political skills of any of the men who had led the party since 1997.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary also said that Mr Cameron was right to focus on the centre ground. The party needed to win over the people who were worried about the NHS and climate change. Traditional Tory supporters should remember, he said, that the Tories still wanted to limit immigration, would share the proceeds of growth between extra spending and lower taxes, and still opposed the EU Constitution.
He said that he did not regret his vote for the Iraq war. If Saddam hadn’t been deposed the world would have been facing another Iraq crisis as the recently executed dictator would have been trying to ‘escape his box’. Big mistakes – not enough troops at the beginning, a failure to secure Iraq’s borders and the disbandment of the army – had meant, however, that Iraq was much worse than he had expected.
84% of Tory members are satisfied with William Hague according to the latest ConservativeHome survey. 15% are dissatisfied.
Conservative Party members continue to rate David Davis the most effective member of the shadow cabinet. Since last April he has topped the poll. 55% are very satisfied with the Shadow Home Secretary and 35% are fairly satisfied. 6% are fairly unsatisfied and 2% are very dissatisfied.
Francis Maude’s net satisfaction rating falls to -7% in the latest survey; 2% lower than Theresa May.
Outside of the shadow cabinet historical series the ConservativeHome survey found David Mundell at -1%; Peter Ainsworth and Oliver Heald at +7%; Cheryl Gillan at +8%; Hugo Swire at +9% (down by 7% since last month perhaps because of his response to the BBC settlement); David Lidington, Andrew Mitchell and Theresa Villiers at +10%; Philip Hammond at +12%; Patrick McLoughlin at +19%; Chris Grayling at +26%; Alan Duncan at +30%; and Lord Strathclyde at +42%.
Related link: Satisfaction with Cameron steady at 71%