The Rt Hon. William Hague MP
William Hague was Leader of the Opposition from 1997-2001, during which time he engaged in some 200 exchanges and debates with Tony Blair.
Hague was born and brought up in Yorkshire, where he continues to serve as MP for Richmond. After attending a local comprehensive (and creating a sensation as a schoolboy speaker at the Conservative Party conference), he took a first class degree at Oxford and then gained a distinction in his MBA at INSEAD.
William spent five years as a consultant at McKinsey & Co before entering the House of Commons, where he was soon appointed Minister for Pensions and then Secretary of State for Wales, in the Major Government. He was voted Politician of the Year by Channel 4 viewers, and Parliamentarian of the Year by the Spectator - an accolade he shares with his occasional TV sparring partner Tony Benn.
Having served in Cabinet and led a political party he has found out the hard way what makes people work together, or fail to do so, and how to cope with significant setbacks. His speeches often delve into the strengths and weaknesses of different styles of leadership, including a poignant insight into Blair and George W Bush.
William also uses his rare blend of corporate and political experience to picture the future as it will affect both business and society. He describes the huge impact of demographic change and the importance of patterns in military spending, alongside wider economic trends. Where will power lie in the decade ahead?
On a lighter note, William is a seasoned raconteur used to sharing the stage with the likes of Rory Bremner. With a great deal of natural Yorkshire wit and extraordinary comic timing, he takes the rise out of senior politicians (of all parties), uncovers the techniques deployed in Prime Minister’s Questions, and tells of the dangers when drink, politicians and temptation come together.
William uses his business skills as an advisor to the JCB Group and Terra Firma Capital Partners. He also pens a column in the News of the World, and occasionally pops up as host of Have I Got News For You? His landmark biography of William Pitt the Younger won History Book of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2005.
William practises judo regularly, plays the piano and whenever possible indulges in his passion for cross-country skiing.
‘The perfect mix of humour and serious business messages’ - Grant Thornton.