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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas