William Hague was today forced to issue a statement denying that he is gay and that he was involved in an “improper” relationship with a special adviser.
Chris Myers, a special adviser to Hague as first secretary of state, today resigned, citing the “untrue and malicious” rumours and the pressure the speculation had put on his family.
In a statement, Hague revealed that his wife, Ffion, had suffered multiple miscarriages in recent years, and categorically denied that their marriage was in trouble.
Hague, who is also foreign secretary, said that the speculation arose from the fact that during the election campaign he had shared a room with Myers, then employed as his campaign aide.
In the past few days some newspapers and websites have carried stories alluding to the sexuality of an unnamed cabinet minister.
On Saturday, the Telegraph published a front-page story saying a cabinet minister was prepread to “take action” against any publication that intended to publish the gay rumours.
On Tuesday, the political gossip blog run by Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, named Hague as the subject of the story.
Today, the Telegraph ran another story saying Hague denied any improper relationship with Myers.
This afternoon, Hague revealed that newspapers had been asking questions about whether his marriage was in trouble, and said the questions were apparently linked to the appointment of Myers as his special adviser.
Hague went on: “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.”
Hague said the pair had occasionally shared twin hotel rooms when on the campaign trail for the general election. “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.”
Hague said Myers had decided to quit as a result of the speculation. “It is a pity that a talented individual should feel that he needs to leave his job in this way,” he said.
In a deeply personal section of the statement Hague went on to reveal his wife’s misscarriages.
“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. For many years this has been our goal. Sadly this has proved more difficult for us than for most couples. We have encountered many difficulties and suffered multiple miscarriages, and indeed 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.” Hague said he and his wife would not have revealed the fact of the miscarriages had it not been for the “untrue rumours … which repeatedly call our marriage into question”.
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