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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Hague enjoys his 'second life'
William Hague and his wife Ffion in the general election
William Hague is enjoying playing the piano
Former Conservative leader William Hague says he feels like he has lived life in reverse as he enjoys the quiet life after his meteoric political rise and fall.

The Yorkshire MP has taken up the piano as he finds himself free of frontline politics and has spoken of his hopes to one day become a father.


I'm not going to try drugs or anything, but I'm free

William Hague
In a newspaper interview, Mr Hague says he is now getting more money for doing less work.

The man who rallied the Tory party conference at the tender age of 16 is reported to have been paid 200,000 for his book on another political prodigy, Pitt the Younger.

In one of the few interviews he has given since stepping down as party leader in the wake of the Tories' disastrous election showing, Mr Hague appears content with his new life.

Living life backwards

"I've lived a lifetime in 10 years," he tells the Daily Telegraph. "I've can have a second life before I'm old. I'm not in a retirement home yet."

The 41-year-old continues: "I've lived my life in reverse. At 16, I was an elder statesman, lecturing the Tory party conference on pulling themselves together.

"Now, I feel like a teenager. I'm not going to try drugs or anything. But I'm free."


I still want to jump up when Tony Blair is being particularly irritating

William Hague
Mr Hague says he sometimes thought he was going to make it to Downing Street as prime minister but now has found new challenges.

"I've learnt to play Mozart, Bach, Chopin and some jazz on the piano. Ffion accompanies me on the clarinet," he says.

Mr Hague complains that Mr Blair never wrote to him after he resigned but only "choked out a few words at prime minister's questions".

Avoiding hatred

But he says there is no mutual contempt between himself and Mr Blair and he delivers a veiled criticism of Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher.

"I'm certainly not going to spend the next 40 years seething in the wilderness," he says.


The workload has gone down, the income has gone up

William Hague
"I've seen too many other political leaders eaten up in hatred."

Elected in 1989, Mr Hague says he would like to serve as an MP for 30 years but admits he does miss some aspects of being on the frontbench.

"I miss the Wednesday afternoon repartee at the dispatch box," he explains.

Research fantasies

"I still want to jump up when Tony Blair is being particularly irritating. I miss the big speeches - not deciding events every day."

His biography of William Pitt, the only Tory leader to have been younger than Mr Hague, is due to be published in 2004.

"I spend days in the British Library," he says. "I do fantasise about discovering a new letter."

The book will bring some extra income for the MP who has landed jobs with earthmover manufacturers JCB and a Yorkshire engineering firm.

"It's physically strange to be on the backbenches, looking down as well as up," said Mr Hague.

"But it has its compensations. The workload has gone down, the income has gone up."

While he cannot see himself as a house husband, the Richmond MP does say he would love to be a father and want to do the nappy-changing.

See also:

02 Dec 01 | UK Politics
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