New pressure on Hague for attending Scottish party fundraiser 24 hours after Libyan defection

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by Rona Mackay

Foreign Secretary William Hague has come under fire for attending a Tory Party fundraising dinner in Edinburgh just 24 hours after the defection of Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa.

It is seen as the latest in a series of Hague gaffes since the Libyan uprising.  He was criticised for not getting UK nationals out of Libya quickly enough and for incorrectly saying that Colonel Gadaffi had fled the country.

Questions are also being asked about where the organisers of the dinner – business group Fresh Start, run by Scottish Tory Treasurer and Hague ally Malcolm Scott – gets its money.

Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie was not present at the £250 per head event, but the Scottish party was represented by its chairman Andrew Fulton and MP David Mundell.

Commenting on the report published in the Sunday Herald, the SNP’s Westminster leader and party defence and foreign affairs spokesperson Angus Robertson, said: “With a serious defection from Libya that day and British personnel in active service, I cannot believe that William Hague thought a fundraising dinner in Edinburgh was more important than his duties at the Foreign Office.

“It is important political fundraising is open and transparent.  Fresh Start should say exactly who has given them money and how much before a single penny is spent on this Tory campaign or any other.”

A spokesman for William Hague said: “It was a long standing engagement.  Normal politics carries on, even though there is an international crisis.”