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Should David Cameron defend BP?

The oil spill is becoming a major political headache for America's president. His own handling of the environmental disaster has been heavily criticised.

A fustrated White House has been hitting back and hard against BP and its embattled CEO, in particular.

The FT describes President Obama's latest attack on BP as "scathing". The Telegraph accuses Mr Obama of "crass populism" and "poor statesmanship".

Last week Business Secretary Vince Cable complained publicly that "it's clear that some of the rhetoric in the U.S. is extreme and unhelpful." He wasn't referring to Barack Obama but he might have been.

Over at the Wall Street Journal Iain Martin thinks it's time for David Cameron to come to BP's defence:

"Team Obama has chosen to set about a British company with increasing ferocity. Will there come a point when Cameron decides that the British national interest and pride makes a measured intervention desirable? Even if it is simply to point out that BP has given endless commitments to clean up the mess and that ratcheting up the rhetoric against it is far from helpful. Other British based companies and those keen to see what Cameron is made of in terms of foreign policy will be watching closely."

I don't expect - or recommend - a public defence of BP but I hope behind-the-scenes channels are being used.

Tim Montgomerie


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