Lord Howell accuses Foreign Office of 'kowtowing' to US


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Indy Politics

The Foreign Office is obsessed with “kowtowing” to the United States and adopts a “cringing and defensive position” in the European Union, a Conservative minister wrote shortly before he lost his job in government.

Lord Howell of Guildford - sacked as a Foreign Office minister last year - wrote down his views after receiving the Foreign Office's annual report last year, The Daily Telegraph reported.

He said it confirmed “everything that is feared, however unjustifiably, about the FCO - its obsession with kowtowing to America, its cringing and defensive position in the European Union vis-à-vis Paris and Berlin, its general assumption that the Atlantic West is at the centre of the world and its values, about which we apparently should lecture everybody else.

”You will see the top priority given to relations with, and a big genuflection to, the USA; the equally high priority to the European Union; the continuing prominence given to Nato - with the rest of the world, the emerging markets, the great booming economies and gigantic new cities of Asia, rising Africa, the Commonwealth network, the new techniques of soft power promotion - and much more - all trailing along behind.“

The Tory peer's thoughts are revealed in his new book, Old Links and New Ties, which is published next week.

In a speech in July 2011, Foreign Secretary William Hague promised the UK would ”put the Commonwealth back at the very heart of British foreign policy for the first time in more than a decade“.

”For years, the Commonwealth has not received the attention it deserved from Ministers in the British government,“ he said.

”From our very first day in office I pledged to put the 'C' back into the FCO. I never forget for a single day that I am not Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that this Government has rediscovered the Commonwealth and placed it once more back at the heart of how Britain views the world.“