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Cameron under attack for 'failing to stand up for Britain' over BP

The Daily Mail has never taken to David Cameron and the newspaper has seized the BP crisis as an opportunity to kick him today. The Telegraph and Express also lead on the affair.

Papers The Mail's front page urges Cameron to stand up for Britain, and accuses him of 'ducking' the chance to speak up for "Britain's flagship country":

"The Prime Minister caused dismay by appearing to side with President Obama as another £5billion was wiped off the value of BP shares in the escalating row over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In his first response to the crisis, Mr Cameron failed to back demands from other senior Tories, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, for an end to 'anti-British rhetoric, buckpassing and name-calling' by the U.S."

The Telegraph calls on the Prime Minister to be "firmer" with the White House:

"In his conversation with the President, Mr Cameron needs to make clear that the long-term financial well-being of BP is crucial to the economies of both Britain and the US. Despite Mr Obama's insistence on associating BP with Britain, it is a multinational company, 40 per cent of whose shareholders are American. Mr Obama is beginning to sound stridently anti-business and anti-oil, neither of which can be in the economic interest of his own country, let alone ours. His impotence in the face of this environmental calamity is understandably frustrating, but this is the time for a cool head and a steady hand. The long-term relationship between Britain and America should not be jeopardised by a presidential response that has been more petulant than statesmanlike."

The short statement made by Mr Cameron was as follows:

“I completely understand the US government’s frustration because it’s catastrophic for the environment. BP needs to do everything it can to clear up the situation. The most important thing is to mitigate the effects and get to the root of the problem. Of course it’s something I’ll discuss with the American president when we next speak.”

William Hague, meanwhile, was accused of complacency for his own statement. “No-one has used an anti-British tone in anything I have detected," he said.

London's Mayor didn't hold back, however. A spokesman for Boris Johnson said: "This in an environmental catastrophe. BP has lessons to learn and of course it’s right to criticise it, but let’s not demonise an important Anglo American firm.” Watch ITN report of the Mayor's remarks. Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind also attacks the White House. In an article for The Times, Sir Malcolm warns of "serious and damaging consequences" from President Obama's words.

Tim Montgomerie


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