Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hague Exits Right, with a Hint of a Smile from Clarke; Tory Leader Is Retired from the Public Eye at Madame Tussaud's

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hague Exits Right, with a Hint of a Smile from Clarke; Tory Leader Is Retired from the Public Eye at Madame Tussaud's

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD ALLEN

ONE minute you're standing proudly with world leaders past and present, the next your head's been removed and placed on a shelf with Terry Wogan and Jimmy Savile. Such is the fate of the politician. As the country waits for the Conservative Party's decision on who will lead it into the next election, the outgoing incumbent, William Hague, has been quietly removed from his pedestal in the Grand Hall of Madame Tussaud's, where he has stood since 1997.

With the new leader due to be announced tomorrow, the space needs to be cleared for the arrival of the new man's mannequin.

A Madame Tussaud's spokesman said: "We don't normally invite the cameras in when we are removing other people in case we upset them but politicians are fair game. We will keep the head and the clothes just in case he makes some kind of comeback. If he's never heard of again we will melt the head down. It depends how quickly people forget him."

If Kenneth Clarke is the next leader, Tussaud's already has a waxwork of the former Chancellor ready to move out of a corner and into Hague's place to the right of the stage displaying eminent prime ministers.

"If Clarke becomes leader we would probably ask him to come in for a new sitting," said the spokesman. "His look has changed quite a lot since the old one was done in 1993. His weight's about the same but he's looking greyer and smarter. We would probably have him in a suit now.

"If it's Iain Duncan Smith he will get a phone call immediately saying: 'Can we send the sculptors round?' It normally takes six months from start to finish but we can do it in three if we work overtime. That's what we would probably do in his case."

As two female staff lifted Hague's slight frame from its carpeted plinth yesterday and carried it past the oblivious gaze of Margaret Thatcher, Harold Macmillan and Benjamin Disraeli, the Yorkshireman's cheeky grin appeared to change to a grimace of quiet desperation. …

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