Hague reveals details of his trip to Turks and Caicos

Tory foreign affairs chief met no opposition leaders in visit to troubled ex-colony

William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, has given details of his visit to Turks and Caicos, where the government was later mired in a corruption scandal, a day after The Independent reported that he had refused to say who he met or what he did while he was on the troubled islands.

His flight to the Caribbean was paid for the Conservative Party's billionaire deputy chairman, Michael Ashcroft, who has business interests on the islands.

Two years after Mr Hague's visit, the islands' premier, Michael Misick, was removed from office and the Foreign Office reimposed direct rule on the former British colony.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Hague's office said: "William Hague made a short half-day visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands in March 2007. He had two meetings during his stay: The first with the then governor of the islands, Mr Richard Tauwhare, and the second with the then premier, Mr Misick. He discussed UK relations with the Turks and Caicos and the political situation in the islands."

Conservative sources said Mr Hague's previous reluctance to say anything about the visit was to avoid any unwanted publicity for Lord Ashcroft, who fiercely guards his privacy.

Allegations of corruption and intimidation on the islands came to light during a visit by members of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee last year. The committee's report prompted the Foreign Office to intervene.

Labour MPs have questioned why Mr Hague did not uncover any information that would have led him to call for a Foreign Office inquiry into the islands' governance, as the MPs did when they visited the following year.

It is now clear that unlike the committee members, he did not meet any opposition politicians or other critics of Mr Misick's administration during his brief visit. But his statement yesterday added: "The Conservative Party takes the need for political reform in the Turks and Caicos extremely seriously. We therefore fully supported the Government's decision to take action against corruption in the Turks and Caicos and have called for urgent reform in the administration of the Islands. William Hague had a recent meeting in London with the new premier of the Islands, Mr Galmo Williams, to discuss progress towards reform."

Mr Hague's stopover on Turks and Caicos was part of a six-day tour that took in Iceland, the Falklands, Belize, Brazil and Panama. He was flown out for free by Lord Ashcroft's company, Flying Lion, but paid for his accommodation.

Michael Ashcroft was the Conservative Party's main financial backer during Mr Hague's four years as leader from 1997 to 2001, and he was nominated by Mr Hague for a peerage. He now runs Conservative Party strategy in marginal seats, and sits in on meetings in his capacity as the party's deputy chairman.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
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

Y1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Y1 Teacher required for a So...

Senior Financial Services Associate - City

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...

Residential Property

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Residential Conveyancer - Wiltshire We have a...

Y5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week