Hague denies rumour he is gay – but special adviser steps down
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, was forced to issue an extraordinary public statement yesterday denying that he was gay, after his special adviser and long-term friend resigned over "untrue and malicious" rumours about the relationship between the two men.
A day of high political drama brought the departure of Chris Myers and a statement from Mr Hague remarkable for its detail about his marital life.
As the media concentrated on the fresh wounds opened within Labour by the publication of Tony Blair's memoirs, news broke that 25-year-old Mr Myers had left his job.
The resignation had been preceded by days of extensive internet chatter about the two men and was followed by Mr Hague denying that he had been involved in an "improper relationship" with his special adviser.
"Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and political talent over the last 18 months. He is easily qualified for the job he holds. Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man," said Mr Hague in his statement.
The Foreign Secretary went on to reveal that his wife, Ffion, had suffered multiple miscarriages but that their bond had remained strong in adversity. "We have never made this information public because of the distress it would cause to our families and would not do so now were it not for the untrue rumours circulating which repeatedly call our marriage into question."
"We wish everyone to know that we are very happily married."
There had long been speculation about Mr Hague's personal life – with no supporting evidence. The latest report was that he and his special adviser had shared hotel bedrooms – something Mr Hague confirmed yesterday.
There was surprise at the Foreign Office when Mr Myers's name was on a shortlist for the post three months ago.
Like most other members of the Cabinet, Mr Hague already had two special advisers, Arminka Helic and Denzil Davidson, while a fourth, pre-election adviser to Mr Hague, Chloe Dalton, is employed as a civil servant in the department. Last week a photograph appeared of Mr Myers, 25, with Mr Hague, 49, walking along the Embankment of the Thames, both smiling. The Foreign Secretary was wearing a baseball cap, this time the right way round – his 1997 attempt to establish "street-cred" by wearing a cap back-to-front had led to caustic comments.
The questions this time were not about Mr Hague's sartorial taste, but what qualifications Mr Myers, who had acted as the Shadow Foreign Secretary's driver during the election campaign, had to advise on foreign affairs.
Mr Myers graduated four years ago with a second-class honours degree in history. He has since trained as a lawyer but never worked for Tory high command – the route most special advisers follow. The Foreign Office justified the appointment of Mr Myers by saying that Mr Hague's additional responsibility, as First Secretary of State, warranted the appointment of a third special adviser.
Yesterday Mr Hague admitted to "occasionally" sharing hotel rooms with Mr Myers during the election. "This speculation seems to stem from the fact that whilst campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms. Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else. In hindsight I should have given greater consideration to what might have been made of that, but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to Ffion and to Christopher."
Foreign Secretary's statement...
"Earlier this year a Sunday newspaper began questioning whether my marriage to Ffion was in trouble, and last week another media outlet asked whether there was a statement about our supposed separation. This seemed to be linked to equally untrue speculation surrounding the appointment of Christopher Myers as a special adviser.
"Christopher Myers has demonstrated commitment and talent over the last 18 months. Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man.
"This speculation seems to stem from the fact that while campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms. Neither of us would have done so if we had thought that it in any way meant or implied something else.
"In hindsight I should have given greater consideration to [that possibility], but this is in itself no justification for allegations of this kind, which are untrue and deeply distressing to me, to Ffion and to Christopher.
"As a result of the pressure on his family from the malicious allegations made about him, he does not wish to continue in his position. It is a pity that a talented individual should feel that he needs to leave his job in this way.
"Ffion and I believe that everyone has a right to a private life. However, we now feel it necessary to give some background to our marriage because we have had enough of this continued and hurtful speculation about us. I have made no secret of the fact that Ffion and I would love to start a family... We have suffered multiple miscarriages, and are still grieving for the loss of a pregnancy this summer. We are aware that the stress of infertility can often strain a marriage, but in our case, thankfully, it has only brought us closer together.
"It has been an immensely traumatic and painful experience but our marriage is strong and we will face whatever the future brings together.
"We have never made this information public because of the distress it would cause to our families and would not do so now were it not for the untrue rumours... We wish everyone to know that we are very happily married... I will not be making any further comment on these matters."
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