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    Pressure on PM to halt 'anti-British' BP attacks


    by ODN


    David Cameron has been put under pressure to intervene in the row over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill amid growing anger over Barack Obama's "anti-British" attacks on BP.

    Senior figures including London mayor Boris Johnson have voiced concerns about the tone of the US president's comments as he seeks to minimise political damage from the disaster.

    Mr Johnson demanded an end to the "beating up" of the oil firm on Thursday, urging the American administration to avoid "name calling" and "buck passing". And the chairman of insurance giant Royal Sun Alliance, John Napier, warned Mr Obama's criticism was "unstatesmanlike" and lacked "balance".

    However, despite an alarming slump in BP's share price, the Prime Minister merely said he understood the US government's "frustration". He is due to discuss the situation with the president in a "routine" phone call over the weekend.

    Chancellor George Osborne has also contacted BP chief executive Tony Hayward on the orders of the PM.

    It also emerged that Mr Obama had requested a meeting with BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and other "appropriate" company officials on June 16 to discuss the response to the environmental crisis.

    In recent weeks, Mr Obama and other US politicians have repeatedly criticised the response of the firm, and called for it to suspend dividend payments. Members of the US administration have also insisted on referring to BP as "British Petroleum" - a name it dropped more than a decade ago.

    Earlier this week, the president suggested that Mr Hayward should be sacked and slammed BP for spending money on advertising and shareholders while "nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf".

    A US State Department spokesman has played down any suggestion of a rift with Britain.