Wednesday 20 September 2017

Hughes red-faced at PMQs gaffe

William Hague promised not to inform Nick Clegg after Simon Hughes accidentally promoted him to Deputy Prime Minister
William Hague promised not to inform Nick Clegg after Simon Hughes accidentally promoted him to Deputy Prime Minister

Senior Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes was left red-faced after he accidentally promoted Foreign Secretary William Hague to the post of Deputy Prime Minister.

With Prime Minister David Cameron at the G20 in Mexico and Nick Clegg at a climate change summit in Rio de Janeiro, it was left to Mr Hague to stand in at Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Hughes, deputy leader of the Lib Dems, had started asking a question about what the Government was doing to tackle tax avoidance in the private sector, when he accidentally made the slip-up.

In his question to Mr Hague, he said: "The Government has made clear its commitment to root out tax avoidance by public officials and civil servants.

"Can the Deputy Prime... can the Foreign Secretary make clear that the Government will be equally robust in rooting out tax avoidance by the corporate sector who do jobs for the Government or are employed by the Government?"

The Foreign Secretary joked he would not tell anyone about the mistake.

He said: "I won't mention to the Deputy Prime Minister your slip. It's entirely between ourselves, within these four walls.

"The Chancellor set out very clearly in the Budget his absolute determination to deal with tax avoidance and to do so without warning in future. I know that if the Chancellor was here he would say that applies to the corporate sector as well."

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