Grassroots' darling ready for lead role in election campaign

AS a favourite of the party faithful and one of the few northerners at the top of the Tory party, William Hague is preparing for a key role in the election campaign.

He confirmed he will be at the forefront of campaigning in Yorkshire, the North West, Scotland and Wales in a strategy aimed at countering concerns that the party is southern-focused.

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"I will be very very heavily involved in the campaign and particularly those areas – and obviously for me the north of England is where I will spend most of my time," said the Richmond MP, who led the party in the 2001 campaign.

Mr Hague said he was preparing for a "busy" campaign in which he would return to London frequently in his role as David Cameron's deputy "in all but name".