David Cameron sees reds under the bed

David Cameron entered a diplomatic row last night as he equated the future threat from China with that from Iran. David Miliband was quick to condemn the remarks.

David Cameron entered a diplomatic row during the leaders’ debate last night as he equated the future threat from China with that from Iran. Foreign Secretary David Miliband was quick to condemn the move.

During the debate, speaking in defence of the Conservative party policy to “renew britain’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent, based on the Trident missile system”, David Cameron said:

“Are we really happy to say that we’d give up our independent nuclear deterrent when we don’t know what is going to happen with Iran, we can’t be certain of the future in China?”

Watch it:

Foreign Secretary David Miliband was quick to condemn Cameron’s words:

“To put China and Iran in the same bracket is an insult to a follow permanent member of the UN security council and to a country with whom we have just announced a close strategic relationship. David Cameron should withdraw this slur now.”

The Conservatives issued a statement: “David Cameron was demonstrating the extent of uncertainties in the world, not saying China is a threat to the U.K.”

Scrapping Trident would not mean losing an independent nuclear deterrent. As Nick Clegg made clear on the Today programme last week, “you could equip the Astute submarine”. Left Foot Forward has estimated that £45 billion could be saved through this approach.

UPDATE 12.55:

Anna Chen writes for Labour List:

“Is Cameron seriously equating China with “rogue state” Iran? May I ask you in your saner moments, David (assuming you have any): with all the money they’re pouring into saving our sorry skint skins, why would China want to nuke its own investment?”

UPDATE 19.04:

Mike Ion has an interesting take on why “the scrapping of Trident could end up being a vote winner and not a vote loser.”

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