British foreign minister's aide quits over gay rumours

1st September 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said a male special adviser with whom he shared a hotel room had resigned Wednesday over "malicious" claims that they had an inappropriate relationship.

Hague, a former leader of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party, also denied that his marriage was in trouble and said that he and his wife had suffered the repeated heartbreak of failing to have a child.

In an unusually personal statement, Hague said he was reacting to days of newspaper and Internet speculation about his relationship with adviser Christopher Myers, 25, who has worked for him for 18 months.

"Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man," Hague said.

Hague, 49, who became foreign secretary after elections in May, said the speculation over his ties with Myers "seems to stem from the fact that whilst campaigning before the election we occasionally shared twin hotel rooms."

"He has now told me that, as a result of the pressure on his family from the untrue and malicious allegations made about him, he does not wish to continue in his position," the foreign secretary said.

Hague said that his marriage to his wife Ffion, whom he married in 1997, remained strong despite their difficulties in conceiving children.

"We have encountered many difficulties and suffered multiple miscarriages, and indeed are still grieving for the loss of a pregnancy this summer," he said.

Britain's new ruling coalition comprising the centre-right Conservative and centrist Liberal Democrat parties has been hit by a series of personal scandals since taking power after elections in May.

Last week, prisons minister Crispin Blunt announced he had "decided to come to terms with his homosexuality" and had separated from his wife.

Meanwhile one of the coalition's finance ministers, Liberal Democrat David Laws, quit in May after admitting failing to disclose that he claimed back rent he paid to his boyfriend because he wanted to keep his homosexuality secret.

© 2010 AFP

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