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Sunday, October 4, 1998 Published at 00:31 GMT 01:31 UK

UK Politics

William who?

William Hague is struggling to raise the profile of his party

An estimated 10m UK voters do not know who Tory leader William Hague, on the basis of a poll conducted for The Observer newspaper.

Two-thirds of those questioned could not correctly name one member of Mr Hague's shadow cabinet.

And in a blow for Mr Hague on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, the survey found that only 8% of the electorate back his policy of ruling out membership of the single currency in this Parliament and the next.

The results of a ballot of Tory members on the policy, designed to end party bickering over the issue, will be announced at the Bournemouth conference on Monday.

Mr Hague says his policy reflects most people's view and is hoping for majority support from the party.

But the ICM survey found that half of all Tory voters want the UK either to join soon or decide after three or four years.

Underlining the party's uphill task in getting its message across, the survey found only one third of all voters knew the ballot had been taking place.

Cabinet in the shadows

On recognition, the poll found 21% of people - roughly 10m of the population - did not know Mr Hague was party leader, although 76% correctly identified him.

[ image: Peter Lilley has been Tory deputy leader since the summer reshuffle]
Peter Lilley has been Tory deputy leader since the summer reshuffle
Asked to identify the deputy leader, 18% said former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke and 14% former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine, both of whom are proving pro-European thorns in Mr Hague's side.

Only 19% correctly named Peter Lilley as Mr Hague's number two.

The poll found that 67% could not name any of the shadow cabinet.

It also found a majority of people thought Tory MPs were still divided, out of touch and untrustworthy.

ICM's survey is based on questions put to 505 voters by telephone last Thursday and Friday.

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