Former Conservative Party leader William Hague has said Sajid Javid’s impression of him “needs a lot more work”.
Health Secretary Mr Javid tried to imitate Lord Hague during a speech at the Conservative Spring Forum in Blackpool.
Attempting the Tory peer’s Yorkshire accent – which Mr Javid said his wife had advised him not to do – he discussed reforming healthcare and longer life expectancies.
He said: “I remember a 16-year-old William Hague telling party conference… now, do you want me to try the accent? Do you want me to give it a go? Right… I’m smiling because my wife is in the audience and she told me not to do it. But anyway.”
He then quoted Lord Hague, saying: “It’s all right for you, half of you won’t be here in 30 or 40 years.”
“Sorry to William,” he added.
“I don’t know if any of you remember that. But a young 16-year-old William Hague said that to a party conference.
“Well conference, I’m afraid to say that it isn’t all right for you because with any luck, most of you will be here in 30 to 40 years’ time.”
He said: “Because the truth is that we’ve come to a crossroads, we must choose between endlessly putting in more and more money, or reforming how we do healthcare, between increasing waiting lists and raising taxes, or a healthcare revolution.”
Lord Hague was played the clip of Mr Javid’s impression on Times Radio on Friday.
He said: “Saj is a great friend of mine and he texted me this afternoon and sent me a link to this and said ‘I’m so sorry’.
“I have texted him back to say ‘no problem, I’m very flattered, but it needs a lot more work’.”
It is not the first time Lord Hague’s Yorkshire accent has been impersonated.
In 1998 impressionist Jon Culshaw was put through to then prime minister Tony Blair while pretending to be Lord Hague, who was then leader of the Opposition.
Mr Blair realised instantly the caller was not the real thing, but laughed and said: “It’s quite a good imitation.”
He added: “You did very well to get through the network anyway. You must have to take them in very well on the switchboard.”