This morning’s Sun carries a report that David Cameron has "sensationally anointed William Hague deputy Conservative leader".
Interviewed by the paper, the Tory leader is quoted as saying:
“William is effectively my deputy in all but name and people need to know that."
Given that Mr Hague is already the "Senior Member of the Shadow Cabinet" who occasionally stands in for Mr Cameron at PMQs, it struck me that the story is hardly worthy of the adjective "sensational".
However, on further reading, it does become clear that the shadow foreign secretary’s status is to be bolstered, with Mr Cameron giving his predecessor-but-two as Tory leader more prominence in carrying the party’s message around the country with a "massively expanded roving brief to front the Tories’
election battle with Labour".
Mr Hague then confirms this himself:
“I wouldn’t take on this new role if I didn’t feel the atmosphere of personal support was not so strong. Normally, relations between senior politicians are fraught and tense. I have been motivated to take this on because of a quite different atmosphere I have experienced. There is no factionalism or rivalry. David sets a great team atmosphere".
He also commits to cut down on his outside interests, for which he suffered some criticism before Christmas, allegedly threatening to resign if he were forced to drop all his external earnings:
“I have been drastically cutting my outside interests. That will continue. There won’t be a lot left by the time we are approaching the election."
I am a big fan of WIlliam Hague and so are ConservativeHome readers, based on his regular high ratings in our monthly readers’ surveys. As such, I can only welcome any decision to give him more prominence in the run-up to the general election, whenever that may be.