Sally Bercow attacks William Hague's 'duff PR advice'

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The wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow criticised William Hague today for detailing his wife's miscarriages in his statement denying a gay relationship with an aide.

Sally Bercow said the Foreign Secretary had been given "duff PR advice", and had elevated an internet rumour into an item in the national press by issuing such a lengthy account of his personal life.

Mr Hague disclosed his wife's miscarriages as part of a statement issued in response to rumours that he had had a homosexual relationship with special adviser Christopher Myers, who quit his post.

Mr Hague said yesterday he and his wife Ffion had "had enough" and decided to "put the record straight" about the rumours which had been circulating, particularly on internet sites.

In his frank statement issued on Wednesday, Mr Hague denied having an "improper" relationship with Mr Myers, although he said they had shared twin-bed hotel rooms, and insisted his marriage was secure.

He also revealed that his wife had suffered a number of miscarriages as they tried to start a family.

Mrs Bercow told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "On a human level, I felt really sorry for Ffion Hague and for William.

"But my first thought was why are you doing this? You don't need to disclose this level of detail to prove you're not gay.

"I think he was given duff PR advice.

"It's elevated something that was circulating on the internet to the national press and the national media. At the most, he should have just said he denied having a gay relationship and said he was happily married."

Mrs Bercow, who has caused controversy herself by disclosing she was a "binge-drinking" ladette before becoming teetotal in 2000, said she had put herself in the media spotlight because she wanted to become a Labour MP.

She went on: "That's not the case with Ffion Hague. She's a capable career woman and not a political figure in that sense.

"I think politicians should be honest about their private life when it impacts on their job.

"I don't think it was necessary for William Hague to give this level of information about his wife's miscarriages."

Mrs Bercow's intervention adds to criticism from senior Tory figures, who have also questioned Mr Hague's conduct and his judgment.

Former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood wrote on his blog that the Foreign Secretary "now seems to understand it was poor judgment to share a room with an assistant".

And party grandee Lord Tebbit said Mr Hague had been "naive at best, foolish at worst".

Downing Street said yesterday the Foreign Secretary has Prime Minister David Cameron's full backing.