“It is long established government policy neither to confirm nor deny speculation of this sort. However, given the intense interest in this case it is, exceptionally, appropriate for me to confirm that Mr Heywood was not an employee of the British government in any capacity,” the foreign secretary wrote in his reply.
Employee has, of course, a legal meaning. One that HMRC takes great pains to clarify at times.
Strictly speaking Hague has just denied that Heywood was paid through the PAYE system.
Which really isn’t what anyone was asking in the first place, is it?