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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 14:21 GMT
Hague digs up new business roles
William Hague during the general election
Hague is renewing his business links
William Hague has begun to put his years as Conservative leader behind him by landing two business jobs to run alongside his career as a backbench MP.

Mr Hague, who on Monday made his first Commons speech since returning to the backbenches, has taken up a post as political and economic adviser to JCB, one of the UK's largest companies.


We want William Hague for his previous business experience, his consultancy background and the fact he is local to the South Yorkshire area

Gordon Bridge
AES Engineering
Mr Hague has also become non-executive director of AES Engineering, based in Rotherham, the South Yorkshire town where he grew up.

The Richmond MP, who worked for top management consultants McKinsey before entering the Commons, is expected to announce a small number of other business commitments in the months ahead.

Backbench role

When he stepped down as Tory leader in the aftermath of his party's disastrous election defeat in June, Mr Hague said he would not take up a shadow cabinet post.

But he is tipped to stand again in his North Yorkshire constituency at the next general election and has not ruled out a return to frontline politics at some point in the future.

William Hague
Hague grew up in Rotherham, home to AES Engineering
Mr Hague's image as yesterday's man in terms of political leadership stands in contrast to one of his new companies.

AES Engineering, which makes the mechanical seals used in pumps and rotating shafts, was last year named NatWest/Sunday Times Company of Tomorrow.

Founded 20 years ago, it now employs 500 staff and a spokesman said it continued to grow despite the gloomy economic prospects.

While Mr Hague once famously failed to name a single Abba song, callers to the company can find themselves put on hold to the sound of the Swedish band's hit Money, Money, Money.

'Apolitical'

Chief executive Gordon Bridge told BBC News Online: "As a non executive director he will have an input into the strategic development of the business.

"This is apolitical. We want William Hague for his previous business experience, his consultancy background and the fact he is local to the South Yorkshire area."

Ken Clarke
Clarke is one of several politicians to hold business posts
While AES provides a local link for Mr Hague, his new association with JCB provides a political link.

Company chairman Sir Anthony Bamford is a Conservative donor and, like Mr Hague, a Eurosceptic.

JCB says Mr Hague has been employed for his political, economic and international expertise.

Although he will not sit on the company's board, JCB is not ruling out the possibility of him taking business trips abroad.

He will not be employed for a fixed number of days but be basically "on-call".

The company refused to confirm he would be paid 45,000 a year.

AES also declined to reveal how much Mr Hague would be paid as non-executive director.

Business links

Many other senior politicians have taken up lucrative business links.

Ken Clarke was abroad on business as a 100,000 a year vice-chairman of British American Tobacco when his colleagues began to jostle to succeed Mr Hague as leader.

Both former Conservative Prime Ministers John Major and Margaret Thatcher are thought to have been paid significant sums for their memoirs.

Although Mr Hague has announced no plans to write about himself, there is speculation he might publish a biography of Pitt the Younger, the only man to have become Tory leader younger than he did.


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See also:

05 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Hague not taken seriously - Tory MP
09 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Hague wins Tory cheers
12 Jun 01 | UK
Private life begins at 40
08 Jun 01 | Vote2001
Hague to step down
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