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William Hague, Tory leader
"My warning is about any Labour majority at all"
 real 56k

Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Hague remains upbeat
William Hague
Mr Hague speaking on Breakfast with Frost
William Hague says he has enjoyed "every day" of the election campaign despite consistently bad poll ratings.

The Conservative leader said: "I've enjoyed every day of it [the campaign] so far and will continue to enjoy every day of it.


I get a huge amount of positive encouragement from thousands of people every day

William Hague
"I enjoy politics and I have an important message to convey - I'm fighting for what I believe in."

That came shortly after the unveiling of a new Tory poster that is widely seen as an attempt to limit the size of another Labour victory.

But Mr Hague insisted that the election would not be decided "until the votes are cast and indeed counted".

Although he acknowledged that as the party leader he would ultimately be responsible if the Tories lost.

"I am the leader of the party. I get the credit for its successes and the blame for its failures and I am very comfortable with that.

Asked whether he got discouraged by constant criticism, Mr Hague insisted that he also had a huge amount of encouragement.

'Encouragement'

"Everybody says 'poor William Hague gets a huge amount of criticism' but actually I get a huge amount of positive encouragement from thousands of people every day and that, of course, spurs me on," he said.

He told BBC TV's Breakfast with Frost programme that the electorate were faced with a clear choice next Thursday.

He denounced Labour as an "artificial" construction and said that if people wanted "a government that will hit crime hard, bring down petrol tax, do something about the public services and keep the pound then they've got the chance".

Europe

Mr Hague is due to speak further about the issue of Europe later on Sunday.

He denied it was an issue that could prompt splits in his party between eurosceptics and the more euro-enthusiastic wing as characterised by former Tory chancellor Ken Clarke.

"At the time of the last election everybody said the Tory Party is going to split and of course it hasn't done at all. It has drawn together," he said.

"People were hoping they'd get all sorts of stories in this election that Ken Clarke says this, [former Tory deputy prime minister] Michael Heseltine says that."

The Conservatives were "fighting together" he insisted.

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