Was Hague Conservatives' first link with Coulson?


Attention has focussed on Prime Minister David Cameron for appointing ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications director, and Chancellor George Osborne for recommending him to Cameron.

That much is established. What has received very little attention so far is William Hague's links with Andy Coulson, which date back to 2003.

It was in December that year that Andy Coulson recruited William Hague as a columnist on News of the World, and proudly announced:

"William Hague was famed for his sharp, no-nonsense delivery at the dispatch box and we're sure that will now translate into his column. Being a Tory won't stop him targeting politicians of all parties."

A former senior News International colleague of Andy Coulson tells me that he and William Hague used to meet regularly to discuss his column and politics, often over lunch.

I am also told that William Hague got regular help in writing his column from one George Osborne, who had helped Mr Hague prepare for PMQs when he was leader.

It seems possible therefore that Hague introduced Coulson to Osborne, and then Osborne made the intro to Cameron.

According to the Register of Members' Interests, Andy Coulson paid William Hague in the region of £200,000 pounds a year for the column.

And Hague continued writing the column until 2005 when he returned to the front bench as shadow foreign secretary.

It means that all the triumvirate at the top of the Conservative Party - Cameron, Osborne and Hague - are embarrassed by the Coulson link.

Which may explain why we haven't heard much from George Osborne, and William Hague has only done his first major round of interviews on phone-hacking today.

Michael Crick Article written by Michael Crick Michael Crick Political editor, Newsnight

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  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    So profits from Dowler hacking kept Hague and Osborne snouts in the trough. Is this not another expenses type scandal? Police Commissioner resigns for accepting £12,000. Hague was getting £200,000. Is he that brilliant? More than the PM gets paid per year for writing one column per week. Murdoch always wants his money's worth. We can guess what he was getting for his money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Our politicians/political class & rest of the world sit there laughing at a weak UK Ministerial Code that is an absolute joke


    Many hours of Parliamentary debates on phone hacking etc & not a single MP had the slightest presence of mind or knowledge to examine whether the MInisterial Code is broken / needs amending

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    in which case, they must ALL resign!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    £200k pa
    How many doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen, solders,teachers etc would like to earn that kind of money for doing a far more important job than scribbling some biased rubbish in a news international paper.
    And they wonder why we don't trust any of them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    I weary of the "shock/horror" presentation at every contact with every politician in this story. Somewhere is criminality to be dealt with, but the other stuff is mostly rubbish. Politicians of all parties and at all levels live by their contacts and people in business seek to influence them on all sorts of things. It is the way things work. Where is the evidence to back up all this smearing?


Comments 5 of 12



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