Earlier this month, William Hague was questioned by a Labour MP during the prime minister’s questions session over his role in lobbying for companies abroad. A few months ago, William Hague was accused by newspapers like The Daily Telegraph, among others, that he and another Conservative minister lobbied strongly on behalf of Irish oil firm, Tullow Oil, over a £175 million unpaid tax bill in Uganda. Hague reportedly telephoned President Museveni of Uganda and the issue was given a high priority with the Foreign Office, according to documents viewed by the Daily Telegraph. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Tullow Oil’s CEO, Aidan Heavey, then made a generous donation of £10,000 to the Conservative party before the general election in 2010 and was also among various businessmen who signed a letter attacking Labour party policy.
These allegations surfaced again in the House of Commons when the shadow treasury minister Cathy Jamieson called into question his links with Conservative party donors and private companies. Jamieson asked, “Perhaps the prime minister could tell the House whether Mr Aidan Heavey’s donations to the Conservative party had any influence on the foreign secretary’s intervention in his company’s tax dispute?” Rather than answer the accusations, William Hague sat silently behind David Cameron and was observed twice mouthing the words “stupid woman” at her. Jamieson did not immediately notice but was informed by fellow outraged constituents that Hague had clearly insulted her.
Unfortunately, the ensuing argument on the continuing problem of sexism in a male-dominated political scene in the UK overshadowed the need for an answer to Jamieson’s original question. Demands for Hague to apologise also proved futile, with the foreign secretary replying, “I mutter many things in this House. Others shout them rather louder than I do, but I mutter many things under my breath and never intend any offence to any other honourable member.”
- Watch William Hague’s ‘stupid woman’ jibe at Cathy Jamieson during PMQs (mirror.co.uk)
- Hague criticised for ‘stupid woman’ comment at PMQs (itv.com)
- Tullow dragged into ‘stupid woman’ row over Tory political donations (independent.ie)
- Hague accused of ‘stupid woman’ jibe (bbc.co.uk)
- Kenyan locals say no to Tullow Oil (theoilandgasworld.wordpress.com)