Senior Lib Dem accused of Nazi slur over 'skinhead' William Hague

When it comes to highly personal attacks against their political opponents, local Lib Dems clearly take their lead from the very top.

Back in September, it was revealed that the senior Liberal Democrat MP and former leadership contender Chris Huhne had been planning a "Nazi slur" against Conservative foreign affairs spokesman William Hague.

According to the
Evening Standard, in his keynote speech to his party's annual conference, Mr Huhne was intending to brand Mr Hague a "skinhead who has toured the beer cellars of central Europe".

The startling attack was shown in a draft copy of his address, but at the last minute Huhne scrapped it from his speech.

The omitted sentence from his draft said: "Skinhead Hague has toured the beer cellars of central Europe, and has come up with the dregs."

At the simplest level, calling a bald man a skinhead is crass and unfair. But in invoking that far-right imagery and in referring to the known preferred venues for Adolf Hitler's political meetings, Mr Huhne's more sinister attempted analogy was clear.

When Nick Clegg's chief-of-staff, fellow MP Danny Alexander, was quizzed on the missing "skinhead" line, he admitted: "There was a line in an early draft and I think he decided that the substance of that was important, not getting into a discussion on William Hague's hairstyle or drinking habits."

However, this wasn't the first time Chris Huhne has found himself in trouble over the propagation of personal smears against his political opponents.

During the 2007 Lib Dem leadership battle to replace Sir Menzies Campbell, a
document circulated by Huhne's campaign was revealed to have labelled his chief rival, Nick Clegg, "Calamity Clegg".

The document set out a series of quotations aimed at showing Mr Clegg's policy "flip-flops".

Huhne claimed that the document was the work of an "over zealous researcher" but was forced to issue an apology.

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