William Hague tackles Israel issues

Down to business: William Hague addressing British-Israel Chamber of Commerce supporters

Down to business: William Hague addressing British-Israel Chamber of Commerce supporters

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the government acted correctly in inviting, rather than summoning, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor to the Foreign Office to discuss the use of forged British passports by those involved in the killing of Hamas militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

On the day Mr Prosor met Permament Under Secretary Sir Peter Ricketts, Mr Hague told the 170 guests at a British-Israel Chamber of Commerce dinner in Manchester that there was "no need to humiliate him [Mr Prosor] in order to have a discussion".

However, he wanted categorical assurances from Israel and other countries that they were not misusing British passports for their own ends.

Mr Hague also echoed pledges from other key figures in his party that a Tory government would change the law on universal jurisdiction, which has left Israeli leaders visiting Britain open to arrest on suspicion of war crimes.

Describing himself as a "natural friend of Israel", he praised the B-ICC's contribution towards developing the UK's third largest export market in the Middle East.

The dinner at Freemasons' Hall marked the 30th anniversary of the north-west branch, whose chair Brian White presented an award for outstanding service to regional executive director Gideon Klaus. "The British- Israel business partnership is very strong and getting stronger all the time," Mr White said.

"From pharmaceuticals to telecommunications to electrical equipment, we are seeing new co-operative ventures every week."

Last updated: 4:38pm, February 25 2010