PM David Cameron’s ‘messianic’ trade mission hits New York
David Cameron arrived in New York last night for talks with financial and business leaders and a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon at the end of his first visit to the United States as Prime Minister.
He travelled by train from Washington for the round-table event at the Nasdaq stock exchange with bank and investment firm bosses aimed at persuading them to invest in Britain as part of what he calls a “messianic” drive for overseas trade.
The PM has made securing foreign investment a key foreign policy priority in an effort to accelerate the chances of economic recovery at home.
Before leaving Washington, Mr Cameron laid a wreath at the US military's Arlington National Cemetery.
He was also given a briefing by senior US officials at the Pentagon on the latest developments in Afghanistan.
However, he was unable to shake off questions about the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi which have dominated his two-day trip — denying he had been “pushed into concessions” on the issue.
The PM declined to comment on US President Barack Obama's suggestion that Tony Hayward should be removed as chief executive of BP, which has come under intense pressure in the US both over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the company's admission that it lobbied the UK Government over a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.
He denied that Britain's position as “junior partner” in the special relationship meant he could be pushed around by the US on issues like Lockerbie.
“I'm not being pushed into any concessions by anybody,” he said.
“I want to make sure we handle this in the right way. I think the release of al-Megrahi was decided by the Scottish Executive. I think it was a bad decision.
“As for BP, they have got to answer for themselves,” he added.