David Cameron BP gaffe will not cause long-term damage

David Cameron was seen to make the first PR gaffe of his Prime Ministerial role for failing to defend BP and Britain against US President Obama's criticism.

BP gaffe: David Cameron
BP gaffe: David Cameron

Obama's aggressive rhetoric, including a threat to hold a ‘boot to the throat' of BP over the oil spill, has been blamed for wiping billions off pounds off the company's value.
 
Cameron responded, yesterday: ‘I completely understand the US government's frustration because it is catastrophic for the environment and obviously everyone wants everything to be done that can be done.'
 
The Daily Mail led with the story under the headline ‘Stand up for your country Mr Cameron', accusing Cameron of ‘ducking the chance to speak up for Britain'.
 
But University of Westminster visiting professor of public relations Trevor Morris said that the statement would not do Cameron any long-term damage.
 
‘Cameron is stuck between a rock and a hard place,' said Morris. ‘If he goes on the offensive he risks more of a reaction in the States. And given the American public is inclined to blame BP, the headlines in America would be bad.
 
‘I don't think it will do him any long-term damage unless anything happens in the next few days. If Obama continues to criticise the UK, he may have to take a stronger stand.'
 
Portland PR director Steve Morris suggested that the Daily Mail's hard line against Cameron could be the shape of things to come.
 
‘I think it's not a huge surprise because the Daily Mail was never a Cameron standard bearer. Paul Dacre and Gordon Brown had a close friendship, whereas the Mail was very sympathetic to Brown.'

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