David Cameron toasted a "golden era" in UK-China relations on Thursday, taking the Chinese president to the local pub near his Buckinghamshire country retreat Chequers. A joint statement signed by Cameron and Xi Jinping said the countries were committed to creating "a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century," however Xi’s visit remains clouded in controversy, with MPs unclear as to whether the PM had raised concerns over China's human rights record.
Conservative backbencher Fiona Bruce on Thursday demanded human rights and freedom of thought be placed at the “centre of this relationship," while Tory former minister Tim Loughton asked why pro-Tibet protesters had not been allowed in view while Xi drove up the Mall.
Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire was equally indignant on China's uncomfortable record, telling the Commons: "As the relationship between our two countries becomes ever closer, we are therefore in a better position to continually raise these matters particularly these extremely concerning individual cases."
The 1,500-word joint statement made no mention of human rights, however said the that “political trust” would be founded on “equality and mutual respect, and in that spirit recognise the importance each side attaches to its own political system, development path, core interests and major concerns".
While visiting the Plough Inn at Cadsden, the PM recalled the time he misplaced his eight-year-old daughter Nancy, who was marooned at the boozer for 15 minutes back in 2012. According to the Evening Standard, the leaders enjoyed a couple of pints of IPA and wolfed down a basket of mini fish and chips with tartare sauce. The session lasted 20 minutes before the pair headed off to a formal dinner with their wives.