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Tories are true blue no more.

Tories have changed their leader and their party - now they could be changing colour, too.

William Hague yesterday ditched traditional "true blue" for a mauve background when he launched his party reform plans.

Hague refused to say whether it could become a permanent feature, but a senior Tory source confessed it was "a possibility".

The launch of the reform package was marred by claims the Tories are bankrolled by a millionaire tax exile living in Florida.

Labour accused the Tories of hypocrisy after their attacks on Paymaster- General Geoffrey Robinson for his interest in off-shore trusts.

It was claimed that Tory deputy treasurer Michael Ashcroft has agreed to bankroll the party if he cannot raise the pounds 16million needed to restore the party's finances.

Trade Minister Ian McCartney said: "William Hague's attempt to relaunch the Tories has sunk on the slipway."

But Hague insisted: "Nobody is bankrolling the Conservative Party.

"If Michael Ashcroft or other people give money to the party, it will be openly declared."

Hague's reforms will mean votes for every party member in choosing the leader.

The rank and file will also get a say in picking the candidates for the major elections.

And the next General Election manifesto will be put to a ballot of members.

Membership will be controlled centrally for the first time, and sleaze- hit MPs will face a disciplinary hearing.

Mr Hague said: "We have reformed the party more in eight months than Labour managed in 18 years."
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Author:Woodward, Will
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 17, 1998
Words:246
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