William Jefferson Hague (born 26 March 1961) is the British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State. He previously served as Leader of the Conservative Party from June 1997 to September 2001. In Parliament, he represents the constituency of Richmond (Yorks), having done so since 1989.
Educated at Ripon Grammar School, a selective grammar school, then the University of Oxford (graduating with First Class Honours in Philosophy Politics and Economics) and INSEAD, Hague was first elected to the House of Commons in a by-election in 1989. Hague rose through the ranks of John Major's government and entered the Cabinet in 1995 as the Secretary of State for Wales. Following the Conservatives' defeat in the 1997 general election, he was elected as leader of the Conservative Party. He resigned as party leader after the 2001 general election following a landslide defeat to the Labour Party. He was the first leader of the Conservatives not to have become Prime Minister since Austen Chamberlain in the early 1920s.
On the backbenches, Hague began a career as an author, writing biographies of William Pitt the Younger and William Wilberforce. He also held several directorships, and worked as a consultant and public speaker. After David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, Hague returned to front line politics as shadow foreign secretary. Later in 2010, upon Cameron becoming Prime Minister, Hague took on the roles of First Secretary of State and Foreign Secretary.