Angry Thatcher dismissed South Yorkshire politician’s job bid as ‘gimmick’

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Rotherham-born politician William Hague’s first attempt to enter the world of Whitehall politics was blackballed by Margaret Thatcher according to newly released Government papers.

Mrs Thatcher had been among those cheering the future Foreign Secretary when, as a 16-year-old schoolboy, he delivered a barnstorming speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1977.

But she was rather less impressed when – as a 21-year-old Oxford graduate – he tried to secure a posting as special adviser to the Chancellor.

Papers released by the National Archives show she blocked the move, denouncing it as a ‘gimmick’ and an ‘embarrassment’ to her government.

No 10 received the request for her approval for Mr Hague to act as an adviser to the Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe and Chief Secretary Leon Brittan in a letter from John Kerr, a senior Treasury official, dated March 17, 1983.

But she scrawled across the top of the letter in thick black ink: “No (triple underlined) – this is a gimmick and would be deeply resented by many who have financial experience.”

A source close to Mr Hague made clear he bore no hard feelings, saying: “The Foreign Secretary thinks that Margaret Thatcher was, as usual, right.”