British PM backs foreign minister over gay rumours

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British Prime Minister David Cameron backed Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday after the top diplomat's aide resigned over "malicious" rumours that they had an inappropriate relationship.

Hague on Wednesday issued a deeply personal statement about his wife's miscarriages and their difficulties in having children as he denied having an affair with male advisor Christopher Myers, 25.

"We have always given William our 100 percent support. That was the case yesterday and it is the case today," said a spokeswoman for Cameron, who is on paternity leave following the birth of his fourth child.

"The prime minister totally understands why William made the statement he did and he backs him 100 percent."

At a joint press conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday attended by a scrum of photographers and journalists, Hague brushed off repeated questions about the issue.

"Yesterday, I made a very personal statement, which was not an easy thing to do. I am not going to expand on that today," he said, adding that he spoke out because he and his wife were tired of "untrue allegations".

"As you can see we are getting on with pretty important global issues today so we will concentrate on those," he added.

Hague, 49, said on Wednesday that the speculation over his relations with Myers, who had worked for him for 18 months, stemmed from the fact that they shared a hotel room while campaigning for Britain's general election in May.

Internet rumours about Hague and Myers were apparently prompted by newspaper photographs showing a casually-dressed Hague in sunglasses and a baseball cap strolling with his aide beside the River Thames.

Hague announced Myers' resignation in his statement on Wednesday, saying he had quit because of "pressure on his family from the untrue and malicious allegations made about him".

© 2010 AFP

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