POSTED OCTOBER 28 2003
Given the current difficulties of the Tory leadership, it all seems plain sailing for its former incumbent William Hague.
The Richmond MP, who resigned as Conservative leader two years ago, was yesterday identified as being among the most in-demand after-dinner speakers in Britain.
According to speakers agency JLA, which has Mr Hague on its books, he is in the A-list of after-dinner speakers, costing between £10,000 and £25,000 a time.
Only the likes of England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, tennis star John McEnroe and actress Lauren Bacall command more.
JLA director Jeremy Lee said there was "universal agreement" that Mr Hague was a great speaker, who performed wonderfully well when it came to entertaining guests after dinner.
Mr Hague was unavailable for comment and the eulogy seemed to take his office aback.
A spokeswoman said: "We didn't know about this but it's obviously good news for William. He has his parliamentary commitments, which come first, but he will do a certain amount of after-dinner speaking every year."
Mr Hague has previously held the reins for an episode of satirical news programme Have I Got News For You. His appearance went down so well that he was said to be in the running to replace former presenter Angus Deayton.
He later said he had underestimated how much politics involved who or what was fashionable at the time, adding: "More people noticed what I said on the programme than almost anything I did or said in four years as leader of the Conservative Party."