A BED-AND-BREAKFAST landlady who became a valued confidante of William Hague described his resignation yesterday as a real loss to British politics.

Doreen Whitehead, who won fame for dispensing down-to-earth Yorkshire common sense to Mr Hague at her kitchen table, said she was saddened to learn that he was stepping down.

The mother-of-three, who was codenamed Mother Goose by Mr Hague, said: "I think it's very sad that he won't now be Prime Minister. He's a wonderful, straight-talking man and I think his resignation will be real loss to politics.

"There's no spin with William - what you see is what you get - and I think he would have been an excellent Prime Minister. I can't understand why the British people haven't taken to him."

Mrs Whitehead, who is in her 60s, runs a guesthouse with husband Ernest in Keld, North Yorkshire.

She became known as Mr Hague's sounding board and briefed the Tory leader on what the man in the street thought about key issues, such as immigration, health and education when he visited with his wife, Ffion.

She said: "I'm shocked by the speed of his resignation, but not surprised. William is a man of integrity and honesty. He would have discussed his decision with Ffion, but once his mind is made up, that's that."