Profile: Peter Hain

Peter Hain came to power on the crest of the New Dawn wave with Tony Blair in 1997, first at the Welsh Office, then as minister for Africa at the Foreign Office.

Mr Brown had him as both secretary of state for work and pensions and secretary of state for Wales.

But Cabinet positions don't compare to the excitement of Hain's earlier life.

Hain's life story includes an acquittal for bank robbery, being framed by South African intelligence agents (allegedly), and a doppelganger.

And a younger Peter had the makings of a socialist revolutionary. He led illegal direct-action events to interfere with South African rugby and cricket tours in protest against apartied in 1972. The Old Bailey found him guilty of criminal conspiracy and fined him £200 - back when the sterling was worth something.

But the Kenyan-born Hain moves in different circles now. In 1999 he had the pleasure of entertaining everyone's favourite dinner party guest, Robert Mugabe.

The dictator thanked him by accusing him of being gay rights activist Peter Tatchell's "wife".

In 2006, he announced his candidacy for deputy leader of the Labour Party, but was knocked out in the second round, coming fifth out of the six candidates.

The irony of the current situation is that his failure to account for the vast sums donated to his campaign still only earned him a bottom place position.


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