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The decision by William Hague and David Lidington to speak against Israel’s attempts to disarm Hamas is the latest indication of the nature of David Cameron’s foreign policy.  Here are some thumbnail summaries of key components:

Europe: Opposition to Lisbon and a commitment to hold a referendum on all future transfers of power to Brussels have pleased Eurosceptics. There has also been a hardening of policy against the Euro but there has been retreat from Michael Howard’s support for abolishing the Common Fisheries Policy.  David Cameron’s delayed pledge to take Tory MEPs out of the EPP was undermined by the decision to protect pro-EPP MEPs from deselection by grassroots members.

Cameron_startsstripesMultipolarity: David Cameron has insisted that America remains Britain’s most important bilateral partner – although never "slavish" – but has also said that Britain has a special relationship with India. He and other shadow cabinet ministers have also regularly visited China.

Wider Middle East: William Hague believes that Labour has neglected relations with moderate Arab states and has invested considerable time in improving relations with these nations.  He has also called for a thawing of relations with Syria.  He has talked of "acquaintanceship".

Hagueperes
Israel:
William Hague and David Cameron have edged Britain away from the US position on Israel.  Mr Hague criticised Israel for a "disproportionate" use of force against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in 2006 and has urged Israel to cease its current military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Iraq: The Conservative Party has not retreated from its initial support of the decision to topple Saddam Hussein but opposed the one decision that has probably been the most successful component of the campaign; General Petraeus’ troops surge.

Afganistan: David Cameron has consistently made the case for continued engagement in Afghanistan but – with Liam Fox – has complained about a lack of clarity in the mission.

NATO: The Conservatives support NATO expansion – notably for Georgia – and a new mechanism whereby nations that do not fight contribute to the financial costs of those who do.

Foxon24
Defence:
David Cameron backed Tony Blair’s decision to renew Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent.  Mr Cameron and Liam Fox have led public disquiet against the Government’s record on the welfare and resourcing of servicemen and their families. Defence is Tory members’ number one public spending priority and Liam Fox recently secured his brief as one of four Tory expenditure priorities.

International justice: George Osborne has agreed that Conservatives should honour the Government’s plan to contribute 0.7% of national income to overseas development.  David Cameron recently made a big picture speech on human rights but it contained no bankable commitments.  William Hague led calls for Guantanamo Bay to be closed in 2007.

Tim Montgomerie

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