Hague assures Clinton on EU partners

By politics.co.uk staff

William Hague has defended the Conservatives’ allegiance with European fringe parties after visiting Washington for a meeting with Hillary Clinton.

The US secretary of state was understood to be concerned about descriptions of the Tories’ European partners as anti-Semitic.

But the shadow foreign secretary said Michael Kaminski, of Poland’s Law and Justice party was not an anti-Semite and that the Latvian party working with the Tories was a respectable political group.

“This is a respectable party in Latvia,” Mr Hague told reporters afterwards.

“To suggest it is anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi is ludicrous.

“I have assured her they are mainstream parties of the centre-right – the Conservative party rejects what it regards as a smear campaign against some of its members.”

But Jewish groups both in Europe and the US have expressed concern about the Tories’ new grouping in the European parliament.

At the Tory party conference in Manchester earlier this month, Ben Summerskill, head of gay rights group Stonewall, boycotted the Tories first Pride event in protest at the move.

Mr Hague also had to convince Mrs Clinton that the UK would still play a prominent role in Europe under a Conservative government.

President Barack Obama is understood to be more interested in working closely with Europe than he is the UK.