Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hague Is New Tory No 2, Putting Osborne in Shade; Edged out? Tory Leader David Cameron and William Hague with George Osborne, Right, Who Labour Claims Has Been Humiliated by Hague's Promotion Effectively to Deputy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hague Is New Tory No 2, Putting Osborne in Shade; Edged out? Tory Leader David Cameron and William Hague with George Osborne, Right, Who Labour Claims Has Been Humiliated by Hague's Promotion Effectively to Deputy

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

DAVID CAMERON today promoted William Hague to be "my deputy in all but name".

The Tory leader gave the shadow foreign secretary a more powerful brief, tasking him to be a chief frontman to speak on both national and international affairs.

The decision to bring Mr Hague into the front line was announced in a joint interview, where the pair sat down with The Sun newspaper.

"William is effectively my deputy in all but name and people need to know that," declared Mr Cameron. "I have been in this job for three years. William did it for four.

"He has seen the pitfalls and is a very wise counsel. It's a good relationship.

It has worked extremely strongly." The decision will delight Tory activists who regard former leader Mr Hague as a hero in the battle against the European single currency and relish his acid attacks on Labour.

There were suspicions, however, that the Right were being thrown a consolation in preparation for the return to the shadow cabinet of pro-European former chancellor Kenneth Clarke, tipped as a possible shadow business secretary. Mr Cameron refused to rule out the recall of Mr Clarke in his interview. Aides today insisted no decision had been taken on the reshuffle.

Mr Hague's new role will see him play a more public role on TV and radio, as well as leading on this year's European election approach. "There's a real opportunity as we go into an election year of William actually carrying a lot of the message to the country, as well as doing the foreign affairs stuff." Labour hailed the move as a "humiliation" for George Osborne, claiming that it showed the shadow chancellor being superseded in the power structure of the Tory high command.

Labour MP Karen Buck said: "This is a clear example of George Osborne being made to walk the plank for his do-nothing economic incoherence." But Mr Cameron's allies said there was no reduction in Mr Osborne's role or importance.

The Tory leader said: "George has been a good friend of mine for 12 years, through thick and thin. …

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