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Foreign Affairs & Defence debate on the Queen's speech: William Hague's response

William Hague: "It will be no surprise to the Foreign Secretary that I agree with the tone and general direction of much of what he had to say, although one would never have thought that it was the speech of someone who thought we talked too much about Europe. Like him, we recognise that these are important days for the long-stalled middle east peace process. We support, as he does, the vision set out in the road map of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, both at peace, both prosperous and neither threatening the other’s security. The conference in Annapolis later this month is the best opportunity in years to relaunch negotiations on a final settlement and we trust the Government will use British standing and relationships to the full to urge the fullest possible support of, and attendance at, the conference.

We await with interest the Prime Minister’s speech on international affairs this evening. The Foreign Secretary will forgive my hon. Friends and me for waiting to see whether all the varied comments of Lord Malloch Brown have been incorporated into the text. The noble Lord has described himself, modestly of course, as the “wise eminence behind the young Foreign Secretary.”

It must be so comforting to the Foreign Secretary to have that presence. He has said today in defence of his colleague that we must judge him by his actions rather than his words, which is what we all say about people who have made a string of verbal blunders. Unfortunately, according to The Sunday Times “Gordon” will not be brave enough to sack him, which is all too believable after all the other things the Prime Minister has not been brave enough to do over the last few weeks, including calling a general election."

More from Hansard here.

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