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Picture_11 1.15pm update: Read the BBC transcript of the interview here

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague was the Tory guest on the Andrew Marr Show this morning and the lead topic of discussion was the wildcat strikes going on in protest at workers from elsewhere in the European Union being brought in to work at a Lincolnshire refinery.

Mr Hague said that "strikes are never the way forward" but accused Gordon Brown of dishonesty when he talked about "British jobs for British workers" in 2007:

"When Gordon Brown said ‘British jobs for British workers’ it was a fiction… because there is freedom of movement of workers within the European Union [apart from the exceptions for Bulgaria and Romania]… It was unbelievably ridiculous and silly [of Gordon Brown to make that claim]."

He said that the Conservatives would be against any change in the free movement of workers as it was an aspect of the single market that they "strongly support".  Tim Montgomerie argued for its retention yesterday.

On one of the other the other big stories of the day – potentially banning all MPs’ outside interests – Mr Hague suggested that Labour were trying to divert attention from the stories about Labour peers allegedly abusing their positions.

"It’s an old story from last summer reheated today… to hide embarrassment over these four Labour peers," he said, telling Andrew Marr: "Don’t let the Government off the hook here".

Whilst he said that the Conservatives would look at any proposals which were put forward on outside interests, he signalled his opposition to a broad brush ban:

"In principle, let’s not be so restrictive that we stop talented people coming in to and staying in politics".

Jonathan Isaby

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