Tories 'promised a pro-US regime'
Senior Conservatives told US diplomats they would run a "pro-American regime" and buy more American arms if they won this year's general election, according to leaked documents.
The US embassy cables, obtained by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and published by The Guardian, show how William Hague and Liam Fox - now Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary - sought to display their pro-American credentials in meetings ahead of the election.
In one cable, a US embassy official commented wryly about the British obsession - which he describes at one point as "paranoid" - with maintaining the "special relationship".
Deputy chief of mission Richard LeBaron suggested that it would be possible to take advantage of British longing for Washington's approval. But he concluded that the "unparalleled" support offered by the UK for US global aims made it advisable to show the British public that the relationship remained strong.
Other revelations in the latest batch of papers released from a cache of 250,000 cables obtained by WikiLeaks include a claim that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to allow US missile strikes against al Qaida on his territory while letting it be known that they were the work of his administration.
And another document suggested that Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi risked an environmental disaster by leaving a consignment of enriched uranium on a runway in the baking sunshine last year in an apparent fit of pique after being stopped from pitching his tent outside the UN in New York.
The documents were being published on a new WikiLeaks site hosted in Switzerland, after two US internet providers withdrew services amid massive pressure from the American government. There was speculation that the website's founder Julian Assange, who is understood to be in England, may be facing imminent arrest and extradition to Sweden for questioning on sex allegations.
Cables sent to Washington by the US embassy in London recorded meetings with senior Tories ahead of the election.
Mr Hague told Mr LeBaron in 2008 that he, David Cameron and George Osborne were "children of Thatcher" and staunch Atlanticists, said one paper. Mr Hague reportedly added: "We want a pro-American regime. We need it. The world needs it."
Meanwhile, in a 2009 meeting with ambassador Louis Susman, Dr Fox said that the special relationship would be "especially close in the defence sphere under Tory leadership", stating that interoperability of equipment would be vital to allow the US and UK to work closely together.