BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Hague wins Tory cheers
Iain Duncan Smith (left) and William Hague
Iain Duncan Smith won praise from William Hague
William Hague joked about his short stay in the Conservative high ranks as he heaped praise on his successor at the party's conference.

Mr Hague won a standing ovation from the Conservative faithful as he appeared at the podium in Blackpool and recalled the time he addressed the conference as a teenager.

"I gave a speech in this hall when I said half of you won't be here in 30 years time and actually, I was wrong," he said to laughter.

"Because 24 years on you're still here and I have come and gone."

Tribute to successor

The former leader paid a fulsome tribute to the skills and qualities of new Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who had shown himself to have integrity and a "cool and calm head" when he served Mr Hague's shadow cabinet.

"He has clear qualities which are hard to argue with, qualities of integrity.

William Hague in Blackpool in 1977
Mr Hague recalled his teenage speech
"No one will ever accuse him of saying the opposite of what he thinks for the convenience of the moment."

Mr Duncan Smith also had the quality of simply wanting to serve his country, he said.

Mr Hague, who is the only former party leader to attend this year's conference, said he was confident Mr Duncan Smith would receive "unwavering support" from the party.

And in a poignant moment, he referred to the moment when he resigned from as leader after the Tories dropped to another crushing defeat at the polls in June.

"I am sorry that we fought and lost in the election this year but we will fight again and we will win again, and I and you will do our utmost to bring that about," he told representatives.

Other former leaders such as Sir Edward Heath and John Major have chosen to stay away from this year's gathering, while Lady Thatcher agreed not to attend so Mr Duncan Smith was not overshadowed in his first conference as leader.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan
"There's tremendous affection for William Hague"
See also:

12 Jun 01 | UK
Private life begins at 40
Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories