Well there’s Saturday’s front pages sorted:
UPDATE: Hats off to Dizzy for the headline “Florence Meets the Machine”.
Another day and still the newspapers are poring over Hague’s statement. Many “experts” have been wheeled out to criticise the foolishness of opening up to such an extent with the Telegraph leading the angle. The also look at his voting record and the Indy suggests there is whiff of homophobia about the statement. Tory MPs are quoted criticising the judgement of sharing a room with an aide, especially given the rumours that have circulated for years.
The TV channels have turned their attention to speculation about the Sundays…
UPDATE: The New York Times questions the nuclear denial tactic.
The official line is that Gordon will not be commenting on Blair’s confirmation that he was indeed a dreadful PM and appalling team-mate, but then we’ve all heard that before. Instead he has chosen today, randomly, to announce the setting up of The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown that will be paid for by his after-dinner speeches. So it won’t be creating many jobs then.
In a dig a Tony his statement makes much out of the various, unpaid, international aid roles he is taking up. There was some speculation he was taking soundings for Shadow International Development Secretary, but today’s statement gives no mention of that. So still no news on whether he intends to turn up to Parliament next week…
Bad news for Lembit Opik – it seems that Cowley Street doesn’t have faith in his bid to be London Mayor. Much like the Tories were before Boris threw his hat in the ring, the LibDems are desperately seeking a decent candidate for the coalition’s first big election battle. A yellow spinner said “that’s not the way we would do it”, but Guido hears that senior LibDems have approached The Apprentice winner Tim Campbell and asked him to put his name forward…
A rather odd choice of candidate given a) Campbell is not a LibDem and b) he has just taken up a role advising Boris.
Guido is currently on holiday in France at the maison secondaire, last night we had 10 for supper and Mrs Fawkes was not amused with the constant interruptions from the Blackberry, it was for her de ja vu (Prescott’s mistress in 2006 interrupted her holiday). Guido had to explain himself to our guests. The French expect their politicians to be virile and have mistresses so this situation was tres amusant.
Guido is using his Blackberry connection to blog from intermittently and the connection is intermittently crap. On the other hand the set-up Mrs Fawkes has created is as grand as Peter Mandelson…
Am off to the beach now…
If Hague had kept an experienced press handler like William Littlejohn as his SpAd he wouldn’t be in this situation would he? He wouldn’t haven’t released that stupid statement on Monday, which brought him more unwanted press attention. He wouldn’t have released that cynical, Aitkenesque, “sword of fidelity” statement yesterday. All in all, he has only himself to blame for being ill-advised and has shown a staggering lack of judgement.
“Extraordinary”, “astonishing” and “startling” seem to be the words deployed by this morning’s newspapers in response to Hague’s nuclear statement last night. Nick Robinson was lost for words on News at Ten. The Sun manages to criticise the legitimate questioning of Hague’s judgement as the “debasement of politics” with a straight face. Over at The Guardian, the employment of Myers is questioned and The Mail join them in questioning whether it was necessary to divulge so much information and why this was done. The Mirror are somewhat on a high-horse asking if this is what Palmerstone would have done.
If the strategy of the statement was to kill the story on Blair’s big day, seven national newspaper have splashed it on the front pages and the news channels have gone into overdrive. Despite the expected Twitter storm, it seems most realise the questioning is legitimate after all. A dangerous tactic has been chosen by the government, that has set noses sniffing in Westminster. If anyone is giving this story legs, it’s certainly not blogs…
Coincidently William Hague is meeting with Guido later this morning and there will be a joint press conference at about 10.30. Guido Westerwelle his German counterpart that is.
Christopher Myers resigns from the FCO, citing “untrue and malicious allegations”.
“I feel it is necessary to issue this personal statement in response to press and internet speculation over the last ten days. 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 political talent over the last eighteen 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.
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.
He has now told me that, as a result of the pressure on his family from the untrue and 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. 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. Several years ago one Sunday paper reported that Ffion was three months pregnant, without ever checking the story with us. This made even more difficult the fact that we had only just experienced another disappointment. 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.
It is very regrettable to have to make this personal statement, but we have often said to each other ‘if only they knew the truth…’ Well, this is the straightforward truth. I will not be making any further comment on these matters.”
A spokesman for William Hague said: “Any suggestion that the Foreign Secretary’s relationship with Chris Myers is anything other than a purely professional one is wholly inaccurate and unfounded.”
Interestingly worded. Note there is no denial that they shared a […]
Guido has ascertained confirmation that for at least one night during the general election campaign the Foreign Secretary shared a hotel room with his then driver Christopher Myers, whom he has now appointed as his Special Adviser on the Civil […]