The Vote For Europe: Hague likened to Mussolini

AFTER THE baseball cap, the Mussolini uniform. Just when William Hague thought his public image couldn't get any worse, opponents of the Tory leader will today portray him as a grinning fascist.

The Pro-Euro Conservative Party will distribute leaflets showing "Bill Duce" wearing the hat and tunic of Italy's most notorious leader. The leaflet is aimed at compounding Mr Hague's embarrassment after last night's Labour Party election broadcast, which pictured him in the now-infamous "Hague" baseball cap.

The Pro-Euro Conservative Party decided to step up its attack on him after The Independent this week revealed that an Italian neo-fascist party had been in talks with British Tories and hoped to form an alliance with them in the European Parliament.

Mr Hague said yesterday that he could not guarantee that Tory MEPs would never have a conversation with the Italians, but that "Conservative Euro MPs are not going to be allied or joining in any way with Italian neo-fascist parties".

John Stevens, leader of the Pro-Euro Conservatives, said Mr Hague was "taking the Tories into an extreme, nationalist party. This is dangerous for the country and catastrophic for the Conservative party".