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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Hague's remarks 'vile xenophobia'
William Hague
Mr Hague was a guest presenter on BBC Two's Have I Got News For You
Shadow foreign secretary William Hague and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson have been accused of "vile xenophobia" for making anti-German remarks.

Former Europe Minister Denis MacShane said both set a bad example to England fans attending the World Cup.

The MP criticised Mr Hague for stating on Have I Got News For You that Germans often made themselves "feel at home in other people's countries".

He added the BBC should have apologised when Clarkson made a Nazi salute on TV.

"When you have got such vile xenophobia against Germany, how are English football fans expected to behave differently?" the Rotherham MP asked in the Commons.

Some MPs shouted to Mr MacShane that the remarks he referred to were simply jokes.

Mr Hague had said: "If anyone has got a history of making themselves feel at home in other people's countries, it's the Germans."

Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson made a Nazi-style salute while criticising German cars
Last December, Mr Clarkson sparked a row after giving a Hitler-style gesture and making mocking references to the Nazis on the BBC's motoring programme Top Gear.

Mr MacShane pointed out that German police had been targeting fans making such salutes in their own country.

He warned: "One person's joke is another person's xenophobic offence."

He also said he hoped every England fan abroad attending the month-long tournament would act as an ambassador for their country.

In response, Commons leader Jack Straw said the World Cup would be "an opportunity to excise all these ridiculous parodies that are still portrayed in our media and by some people in here about Germany".

Mr Hague's office did not return calls requesting a response to Mr MacShane's remarks.


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