By Martin Bright
October 16, 2009
The Guardian is the first paper to follow up the JC's story on US unease at the Tories' new alliance with right-wing parties in the European parliament. Senior political correspondent Allegra Stratton has confirmed that senior US officials raised their concerns when Hillary Clinton visited the UK last weekend.
The Tories's decision to yoke itself with Poland's Law and Justice party and Latvia's Fatherland and Freedom party looks more eccentric by the minute.
According to Allegra: "Senior US officials are believed to have raised the issue of the Conservative party's new relationships with rightwing Europeans when Hillary Clinton visited the UK last week. Although the issue is not thought to have been on the table in discussions between the US secretary of state and the foreign secretary, David Miliband, the nature of the other political parties in the Tories' new European grouping was raised in meetings between US and UK officials."
This has been a tricky story to pick up for other papers. After we ran our story there was some heavy briefing from the State Department that the subject had not been raised in the official discussions between Mrs Clinton and and Foreign Secretary David Miliband. This was something we made very clear in the original piece. It remains the case that a UK government official briefed the JC that Hillary Clinton herself was "concerned".
I know the Guardian has been trying to pin this one down for 24 hours. It has clearly received the confirmation it needed to run the story.