Angelina Jolie inspired William Hague to step down from government, former Foreign Secretary admits

The former Foreign Secretary and current Leader of the House of Commons will not contest his seat at the General Election in May

Jenn Selby
Tuesday 17 March 2015 15:02
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William Hague is leaving his role in parliament as Leader of the House of Commons to spend more time with Angelina Jolie.

The former Foreign Secretary and current Leader of the House of Commons will not contest his seat at the General Election in May, he says, so he can continue on his quest with the actress and UN Ambassador to confront the issue of sexual violence being used as a weapon in war zones.

Angelina Jolie and William Hague speak in London

“It is too important to leave it,” he told the Evening Standard. “The momentum has to be maintained, and we have to show that it is possible to take action all over the world.”

The pair met at a foreign office screening of her directorial debut In The Land of Blood and Honey in 2011 .

“Angelina has done so much,” he continued. “She is very, very knowledgeable about this. She is incredibly dedicated to the cause.”

William Hague and Angelina Jolie attend the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict at ExCel in London

Hague first recognised the conflict zone crisis when he visited refugee camps in Darfur and Bosnia in his role as shadow foreign secretary in 2006.

“There were tens of thousands of rapes there in the Nineties and very few people have ever been brought to justice,” he continued.

Jolie’s emotive film, he said, “helped bring everything together” for him.

“If we know so much about the crimes that are being committed, how can we not act?”

Angelina Jolie stands with British Foreign Secretary William Hague as they listen to an audio recording from a peace worker

“We will deal more effectively with the crises of the future if we can solve these problems,” he added elsewhere. “Sexual violence perpetuates conflict; it is often intended to perpetuate conflict. It is used systematically to make peace harder to achieve, to make communities irreconcilable.”

Jolie and Hague recently opened a new centre for research into the prevention of rape in war zones at the London School of Economics, dedicating the building to a teenage survivor of Isis who had been captured as a sex slave.

Angelina Jolie talks to David Cameron and William Hague on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street

“What we have begun at LSE today is for that Iraqi girl and others like her, who pay the price for the culture of impunity for crimes against women, and our failure to prevent conflict,” Jolie said in February.

Last year, she was presented with an honorary damehood by the Queen for her humanitarian efforts.

Jolie was named in the Diplomatic Service and Overseas list in June 2014 for her services to the UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war-zone sexual violence.

Earlier the same year, she co-hosted the End Sexual Violence in Conflict global summit in London with William Hague.

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