Hague earns black mark in bid for cool

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William Hague was damned as "sad" last night for attending the Music of Black Origin Awards in London by a black journalist who claimed the Tory leader would not know his Coolio from his Mark Morrison.

Tony Sewell, of the black newspaper The Voice, said he was not opposed to the presence of Mr Hague on party political grounds, but because he was a politician. "I think it's very strange that he has decided to come in on this bandwagon of being cool, said Mr Sewell. "I like my pop music straight and I don't want politicians coming up and messing it up.

"If William Hague decided to put up some black politicians in safe Tory seats people would take that more seriously."

Mr Hague, who was criticised for trying to secure street credibility by visiting the Notting Carnival in August, was defended by Boris Johnson, the Daily Telegraph columnist: "In due course, William Hague, by the iron law of radical chic, will appear cool."

Jazz, hip hop, R&B, dance, reggae, jungle and gospel music were recognised in the ceremony which will be broadcast, complete with William Hague, on ITV on Thursday. Bands such as Eternal, Gala, The Prodigy and the Mercury Music Prize winner Roni Size were expected to pick up awards in the 17 categories.