Belize PM warns Cameron about role for Ashcroft

Barrow: My government is in 'state of war' with peer

The Prime Minister of Belize warned David Cameron last night that he risks damaging relations between Britain and the Central American country if he gives Lord Ashcroft an influential position in a Conservative government.

Dean Barrow said his government was in a "state of war" with the billionaire Conservative deputy chairman over his business interests in the country.

In an extraordinary intervention in the margins of the Commonwealth heads of government summit in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Barrow said he hoped no "institutional harm" would come to British-Belize relations, which he described as valuable, as a result of Lord Ashcroft's role in a Tory government. Britain has a military training base in the country and Belize is a strategic ally in the region.

"It's not for me to presume to advise Mr Cameron," Mr Barrow said. "All I can do is to say that I would hope that a practical problem would be managed in such a way as not to damage relations between Belize and the UK."

The Tory peer is ploughing millions of pounds into marginal constituencies and has been tipped for a foreign affairs role if the Tories win power.

Mr Barrow has been a fierce critic, claiming that Lord Ashcroft operated a monopoly by owning both the country's telecoms firms.

Lord Ashcroft has strenuously denied Mr Barrow's claims that he held a monopoly over Belize's telecommunications industry, insisting that he sold Telemedia, a company he owned in the 1990s, seven or eight years ago.

Lord Ashcroft says the criticism is politically motivated. His spokesman, Alan Kilkenny, recently said the peer "has had no economic interest in telecoms in Belize for years". Mr Barrow stepped up the pressure last night by extending his attack to politics, describing Lord Ashcroft as a "relentless foe".

Asked whether he was concerned about Lord Ashcroft's influence in a Tory government, Mr Barrow said: "Yes, I am. I, of course, have to rely on the good sense of David Cameron, and I feel that he is sufficiently astute and wise... to be relied on, that I can expect that he would not allow one person to prejudice in any fundamental way the relations between our two countries. But I know that Lord Ashcroft clearly has to be influential – he is the deputy chairman of the party."

The Conservative leader has been criticised for not saying explicitly whether Lord Ashcroft pays tax in the UK, only that he is satisfied that there is not a problem.

In a sign of how Lord Ashcroft's largesse is paying political dividends, a poll for The Daily Telegraph yesterday showed the Tories streaking ahead in key marginals where the money has been directed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor