London: British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had held his own country responsible for many of the world’s historic problems, including the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan, swore angrily on the plane journey back from his trip to Islamabad after he learned of the row sparked by his comment.
Cameron turned on a journalist who had reported his remark and said: “You f*****!”, the Mail Online reported.
The outburst came after Cameron’s apparent attempt to distance himself from Britain’s imperial past had received a warm welcome from his audience in Pakistan.
“I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place,” Cameron had replied when he was asked at a university in Islamabad as to how Britain could help to end the row over Kashmir.
Back in Britain, the comment made front-page news and prompted claims that Cameron was too ready to tell foreign hosts what they wanted to hear.
“The UK should stop being embarrassed about its colonial past,” Daisy Cooper, the director of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit, was quoted as saying.
Labour MP Tristram Hunt, a historian and former television presenter, said: “To say that Britain is a cause of many of the world’s ills is naïve… David Cameron has a tendency to go to countries around the world and tell them what they want to hear, whether it is in Israel, Turkey, India and Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Cameron did not discover the negative impact of his remarks in the UK until the next day, when he boarded his plane for his return flight and chatted with the accompanying Press pack.
When told that it was front-page news and described as a diplomatic gaffe, he demanded to know which journalist present had written the story and told him: “You f*****!”
Cameron, however, was forced to admit he had been reported accurately, but maintained that the comment had been “blown up out of all proportion”.