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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
William Hague

Date of birth

26 March 1961

Political profile

William Hague's career is one of the most remarkable stories of a rapid rise and fall in modern politics.

Known for a long time as the precocious schoolboy who made a speech to the Conservative conference at the age of 16, he was famously obsessed with politics from an early age.

After becoming President of the Oxford Union and spending his early career as a management consultant, he won a 1989 by-election to enter the Commons - the last by-election the Tories were to win until they left power.

His intelligence and considerable debating skills led to quick promotion and he entered the Cabinet in 1995 as Secretary of State for Wales, where he was widely noted as the rising star to watch.

His elevation came sooner than expected when he became leader of the Conservative Party in 1997 and here his troubles began.

He was lampooned in the press for his "young fogey" image and hemmed in by a heavily Eurosceptic parliamentary party.

While his public speaking skills meant he regularly got the better of Tony Blair at Prime Minister's Questions, he remained well behind in public opinion.

He fought the 2001 election with energy and seemingly limitless optimism, concentrating on opposing the Euro and attacking the government on asylum.

But the results were as disastrous as the polls during the campaign showed, with the Conservatives making a net gain of just a single seat.

William Hague swiftly fell on his political sword and announced he would retire to the backbenches, at the age of 40.

Contact

hague@parliament.uk

Constituency office 01609 779093

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