Atlantic Bridge US publishes pro-Cameron remarks

Anglo-American relations charity says article in Washington Examiner was not intended to endorse Tories

The American sister organisation of a UK charity that is under investigation for alleged links to the Conservative Party has endorsed David Cameron for Prime Minister.

The Charity Commission opened an inquiry in August into Atlantic Bridge, which exists to promote US-UK relations and was founded by shadow defence secretary Liam Fox, for alleged links to the Conservatives.

Amanda Bowman, the chief executive of the American arm of the organisation, wrote in the Washington Examiner newspaper last week that David Cameron would be "much more amenable to shared US-UK foreign interests than Gordon Brown" and that Cameron would be "good for America and better for the special relationship".

A spokeswoman for the commission said that Atlantic Bridge USA fell outside its jurisdiction. She declined to comment on whether Bowman's comments would have any impact on the commission's ongoing investigation into Atlantic Bridge UK.

Bowman said her article had been intended as a response to recent press articles questioning the special relationship. "It was not intended as an endorsement of David Cameron, but rather as speculation that this relationship will hopefully be revitalised if the Tories win the general election," she said.

Atlantic Bridge shares its advisory council as well as an executive council with the British organisation, but has a separate board of trustees and is a registered not-for-profit organisation in the US.

The advisory council includes seven Tory MPs and a Tory peer. The MPs include shadow foreign secretary William Hague, shadow chancellor George Osborne and shadow education spokesman Michael Gove. Fox is also a trustee.

In a further twist, Bowman denied that a press release apparently sent to UK journalists to publicise the article had come from anyone working for the organisation on either side of the Atlantic.

The press release began: "A leading non-partisan Anglo-American think tank dedicated to the development and preservation of the special relationship between the USA and the UK has endorsed David Cameron and the British Conservative Party as the best bet for taking US-UK relations to the next level."

It did not distinguish between the American and British branches of the organisation.


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