Hague tries to unite his party around 'mainstream values'

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William Hague will attempt to unite rival factions of the Tory Party today by pledging to champion "mainstream values" on asylum and homosexuality while at the same time respecting the rights of minorities.

William Hague will attempt to unite rival factions of the Tory Party today by pledging to champion "mainstream values" on asylum and homosexuality while at the same time respecting the rights of minorities.

In an attempt to reconcile the "liberal" and "authoritarian" wings of his party, the Conservative leader will state that there is no contradiction between his hardline policies and wider social tolerance.

The recent controversy over Ann Widdecombe's drugs policy showed a clear divide between the shadow Home Secretary and allies of Michael Portillo, the shadow Chancellor, who believe a more "inclusive" approach will win more votes at the election. But Mr Hague will tell the Society of Editors in Cardiff that the Tories can both campaign hard on crime, asylum and tax while offering "a very robust and Conservative" solution on social policy.

"Conservatives should do both for we are neither libertarians nor authoritarians," he will say. "We believe passionately in the personal and economic freedom of the individual, but we also understand that as individuals we owe rights to others and that we live in a society with a history and traditions."

Mr Hague will claim that his own personal view on homosexuality, marriage and ethnic minorities is in touch with "mainstream" public opinion.

"I see no contradiction, and nor do most people, in saying of course I'm not gong to dictate how every person should lead their life, but I will change the tax system to support marriage because all the evidence tells us that stable marriages lead to stable societies," he will say.

"I see no contradiction, and nor do most people, in saying that we celebrate the different ethnic communities that make up Britain but that we won'be a prisoner to political correctness."

Mr Hague will say that he is proud that Britain is "a nation of immigrants", but stress that he is vehemently opposed to the idea of positive discrimination and accepting demands from pressure groups."

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