Secret letter on Tory`s approach to EU may mar coalition talks
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 09, 2010, 23:07
  
London: The parleys over stitching up a coalition in Britain could be jeopardised by the leak of a top secret letter, outlining the hardline Euro-sceptic stance the Tories planned to adopt if elected, reflecting the wide schism between them and the Liberal Democrats.

The document, obtained by the Observer, is headed "draft letter from Foreign Secretary to Prime Minister" and was written last week by shadow foreign secretary William Hague to Conservatives Prime Ministerial candidate David Cameron.

It deals with the issue of Britain's approach to Europe, that is one of the two main issues of difference between the Cameron-led Tories and the Lieberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg, a strong pro-European.

The letter appears to have been written assuming a Tory victory in the May 6 general election, in the event of which Hague would have been the Foreign Secretary and Britain's representative at the EU meeting of foreign ministers.

It spelt out how Hague intended to adopt a tough approach to Europe at the meeting in Brussels tomorrow.

The Guardian said Cameron's hopes of forming a coalition with the Lib Dems were dramatically undermined by the leak.

In the letter, compiled by civil servants but written in the first person, Hague tells Cameron how his message would be that "the British relationship with the EU has changed with our election" to one firmly against any further integration.

Exposing the massive gulf between Liberal Democrat leader Clegg and the Conservative leadership on Europe, Hague says he would demand the right to repatriate powers over criminal justice as well as social and employment policy during the first term of a Tory government - demands many EU leaders say they would resist.

The document came to light as negotiations are on between the two parties over formation of a coalition government and election reform and Europe, among others, have emerged as the main issues of difference.

Clegg also met his MPs and senior party figures yesterday to discuss a possible coalition with the Tories.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, May 09, 2010, 23:07


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