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Friday, February 12, 1999 Published at 03:55 GMT

UK Politics

Hague: Compassion key to Tory revival

William Hague: Tories can no longer appear "elitist"

Tory leader William Hague will outline plans on how Conservatives in the UK and the US can win the electoral battle against the left in a speech on Friday.

Mr Hague is expected to tell the parties of the right that they must rise to the challenge presented by a "new values agenda".

The speech, to the National Press Club in Washington DC, is Mr Hague's latest attempt to revive the fortunes of his struggling party which languishes nearly 20 points behind Labour in the polls.

He is expected to say: "While the spirit of great leaders of the past, of people like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, can inspire us, we will not be able simply to repeat their agenda."

Highlight concerns

The Tory leader will tell his audience: "A new Conservative revival depends on much more than just the economy."

He will then highlight people's concerns on crime, welfare, drug abuse, and what he sees as increasingly remote government decision-making.

Mr Hague will tell his party it must be seen as "open, inclusive and compassionate", as opposed to its past "elitist" image.

During his tour Mr Hague has already visited the former US Secretary of State, Dr Henry Kissinger.

Before returning to the UK, the Tory leader will also hold talks with the rising star of the Republicans Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Governor Bush is the son of former President George Bush and is one of the foremost exponents of the new 'caring conservatism'.

Mr Hague is said to be keen to learn more about his policies which some Republican strategists are touting as the electoral formula that will secure the presidency at the next election.

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