William Hague

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The Right Honourable William Jefferson Hague (born 26 March 1961) is a British Conservative politician and life peer. He represented Richmond, Yorkshire as Member of Parliament (MP) from 1989 to 2015. He also served as Leader of the House of Commons from 2014 to 2015, as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2010 to 2014, and as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2001.



  • I was the driver's mate, delivering the bottles and beer around South Yorkshire. We used to have a pint at every stop – well the driver's mate did, not the driver, thankfully – and we used to have about 10 stops in a day. You worked so hard you didn't feel you'd drunk 10 pints by four o'clock, you used to sweat so much. But then you had to lift all the empties off the lorry. It's probably horrifying but we used to do that then go home for tea and then go out in the evening to the pub.
    • Interview, GQ magazine, August 2000
    • Reminiscing about his days delivering soft drinks for the family firm while a teenager. The interviewer asked whether that might make 14 pints per day and Hague agreed.
  • "Nothing is more absurd than a Prime Minister who has committed us in principle to joining the Euro saying last week that he was against it. He talks about his five tests; we know what they are: "Does Peter want it? Will Gordon let me? Will the French like it? Will Robin notice? Can I get away with it?"
    • 25 October 2000, House of Commons, Prime Minister's Questions.
  • In the Prime Minister, we have a man who has forfeited the right to be believed or to be trusted. In more than 20 years in politics, he has betrayed every cause he believed in, contradicted every statement he has made, broken every promise he has given and breached every agreement that he has entered into. In 1982, the Prime Minister said that we would negotiate a withdrawal from the EEC. In 1994, he said: "Under my leadership, I will never allow this country to be isolated." In 1996, he said that he had made it clear that if it is in Britain's interest to be isolated then we will be isolated.There is a lifetime of U-turns, errors and sell-outs. All those hon. Members who sit behind the Prime Minister and wonder whether they stand for anything any longer, or whether they defend any point of principle, know who has led them to that sorry state. In one of his frequent meetings with the former leader of the Liberal party, whom he so much preferred to meeting his own Cabinet, the Prime Minister told us as it is. He said that he had taken from his party everything they thought they believed in and had stripped them of their core beliefs and that what kept them together was power.
    • 6 December 2000, House of Commons, Prime Minister's Questions.


  • I thank the Prime Minister for his remarks about me. Debating with him at the Dispatch Box has been exciting, fascinating, fun, an enormous challenge and, from my point of view, wholly unproductive in every sense. I am told that in my time at the Dispatch Box I have asked the Prime Minister 1,118 direct questions, but no one has counted the direct answers—it may not take long.
    • 18 July 2001, House of Commons, Prime Minister's Questions.


  • For the first time in history at Question Time, all three parties are represented by a stand-in for the real leader.
    • 15 February 2006, House of Commons, Prime Minister's Questions when he deputised for David Cameron in his absence. However, Tony Blair was answering questions and was the active leader of the Labour party. Hague was suggesting that Gordon Brown was the "true" power behind the party.


  • To see how the post of a permanent President of the European Council could evolve is not difficult even for the humblest student of politics, and it is, of course, rumoured that one Tony Blair may be interested in the job. Now, if that makes us uncomfortable on these benches, just imagine how it is viewed in Downing Street! I must warn Ministers opposite that having tangled with Tony Blair across this Dispatch Box on literally hundreds of occasions, I know his mind almost as well as they do. I can tell them that when he goes off to a major political conference of a centre-right party and simultaneously refers to himself as a socialist, he is on manoeuvres, and is busily building coalitions as only he can. We can all picture the scene at a European Council sometime next year. Picture the face of our poor Prime Minister as the name of "Blair" is nominated by one President and Prime Minister after another: the look of utter gloom on his face at the nauseating, glutinous praise oozing from every Head of Government, the rapid revelation of a majority view, agreed behind closed doors when he, as usual, was excluded. Never would he regret more no longer being in possession of a veto: the famous dropped jaw almost hitting the table, as he realises there is no option but to join in. And then the awful moment when the motorcade of the President of Europe sweeps into Downing Street. With gritted teeth and bitten nails: the Prime Minister emerging from his door with a smile of intolerable anguish; the choking sensation as the words, "Mr President", are forced from his mouth. And then, once in the Cabinet room, the melodrama of, "When will you hand over to me?" all over again.
    • Hansard, 21 Jan 2008, House of Commons: Column 1261-1263.
  • To Harriet Harman. "Before turning to domestic issues, I was going to be nice to the right hon. and learned Lady. She has had a difficult week. She had to explain yesterday that she dresses in accordance with wherever she is going: she wears a helmet on a building site, she wears Indian clothes in the parts of her constituency with a large representation of Indian people, so when she goes to a Cabinet meeting, she presumably dresses as a clown. As I said, I was going to be nice to her before her previous response."
    • 02 April 2008, House of Commons, Prime Minister's Questions.



  • It remains the case that the single biggest terrorist threat to this country remains al-Qaeda, or people inspired by al-Qaeda, but what has happened is a reminder that it is not the only source of violent extremist or terrorist attack.
  • The very making of these allegations undermined Britain's standing in the world as a country that upholds international law and abhors torture. As a government we understand how important it is that we not only uphold our values and international law, but that we are seen to do so.



  • We also need to see how changes in the eurozone are affecting the EU and how that affects this country and the relationship of the countries together. But when we have done that there is a strong case for fresh consent in this country and the people of this country having their say.
  • It is about... making a success of membership of the EU but also with democratic consent for that in its modern form and the best form that we can bring about.
  • I welcome the formation of the new Israeli Government. I warmly congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu on his second consecutive term in office at this important time in Israel’s history. We look forward to working with his new Government to further develop our strong bilateral relations and to advance our successful partnerships in areas such as trade, security, science, technology and higher education. As I have said previously, there is no more urgent foreign policy priority in 2013 than making progress towards achieving the two-state solution. I have urged the United States to lead international efforts to revive the peace process and pledged that the UK will spare no effort in mobilising European Union and Arab states behind decisive moves for peace. I welcome President Obama’s visit to the region next week. I call on Prime Minister Netanyahu, and President Abbas, to demonstrate leadership and courage in working with the international community to secure the peace which is so strongly in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.
    • GOV', 17 March 2013, India, Welcoming the formation of the new Israeli Government.
  • We will continue to work closely with the Somalia government on shared priorities, which include tackling conflict, countering terrorism and piracy, providing humanitarian assistance, and promoting UK interests in Somalia



  • To end up destroying the UK and gravely weakening the European Union would not be a very clever day's work. So, even as a long-standing critic of so much of that struggling organisation, I am unlikely in 2016 to vote to leave it.


  • The electorate voted to leave the EU, and therefore we leave. What is more, the number of people who voted to do so was higher than the number of votes cast for any government in our history. To me and many of my former colleagues in government who preferred to remain, the argument was over.
  • [Philip Hammond] has evidently been trying to persuade his cabinet colleagues that we should be seeking to stay in the EU single market and customs union during a transition and 'implementation' phase lasting to 2022, followed by a free trade deal with our former partners after that. This is seen by longstanding advocates of leaving as a 'soft' position or a climbdown. But in reality it is a plan to rescue Brexit from an approaching disaster.
  • Imagine going back to the people of this country and saying 'you got this wrong in the referendum, you may have turned out in record numbers and most of the country voted to leave but nevertheless we think you got it wrong and we are going to run it again'. Imagine the hate-filled campaign that would divide this country. I do not think that is a price worth paying.


Quotations about William Hague[edit]

  • To make matters worse, they have elected a foetus as the party leader. I bet a lot of them wish they had not voted against abortion now!
  • "if I were looking for advice on what to wear or what not to wear, the very last person I would look to is the man in the baseball cap." **Harriet Harman, 02 April 2008, House of Commons, Prime Minister's Questions.

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