3 Dec 2008

According to tomorrow's New Statesman, Barack Obama was unimpressed by his encounter with David Cameron earlier this year and commented: "What a lightweight!"

According to James Macintyre's report, Cameron's attempt to stress his pro-American and Eurosceptic credentials did not meet with Obama's approval. According to Macintyre's diplomatic sources, the Democratic candidate was "distinctly unimpressed" and labelled Cameron a lightweight.

Macintyre notes that 48 hours earlier Obama had delivered a speech in Berlin stressing "the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future".

Following the meeting with Cameron, Obama apparently asked officials for more information on Tory Euroscepticism. Macintyre also speculates that Cameron's support for the Iraq war – which Obama opposed – did not help the relationship either.

The report is sure to dismay Cameron and damage his attempts to portray himself as a world-class statesman – not to mention relations between Obama's incoming administration and a possible future Tory government.

When Cameron met the then-presidential candidate in July, the two held an hour of discussions, and Obama also met shadow cabinet members William Hague and George Osborne.

Photographs showed the pair looking relaxed and comfortable with each other, and Cameron gave Obama gifts including a box of CDs by some of the Conservative leader's favourite British musicians, among them the Smiths, Radiohead, Gorillaz and Lily Allen, and a copy of Hague's recent biography of the anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce.

A senior Labour source told the Statesman: "Obama will want to work with a united Europe, not the 27 divided nations envisaged by a David Cameron, William Hague and [the Eurosceptic backbencher] Bill Cash vision of Europe. Tory isolationism is the last thing Obama's new foreign policy team will want from London."


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