It was he would claimed that the then Michael Ashcroft would pay tens of millions in additional tax in fulfilling his obligations under the agreement. It was he whose Chief Whip is alleged to have played a key role in watering down the pledge made in writing to Lord Thomson of Monifieth. Clearly, he had either been misled, or he knew what was happening. Neither option is terribly good for his reputation, or that of Lord Ashcroft. Indeed, as The Times put it this morning,
"Even if the peer did not originally intend to deceive, there can be little doubt that he allowed a deceit to develop. Moreover, he was content not to correct it."
So, the simple questions for William Hague to answer are, "Did you believe, as a result of his commitment, that all of Michael Ashcroft's income would be declarable to, and taxable by, the Inland Revenue? And if not, what did you believe?".
From the perspective of most people, the actual facts are, I suspect unimportant, although my workmates, none of whom are particularly political, are beginning to get the idea into their heads (unbidden by me, I might add) that the Conservatives are a bit evasive and sleazy. And, as I've noted in the past, credibility is hard earned and easily squandered.
So, whilst my Conservative friends spin away, raising the issue of other political parties and their income from non-domiciles, only one such person has made a commitment, possibly dodged it, and gained a peerage as a result. So, would William Hague like to step up to the bar of public opinion and answer a few legitimate questions?...