'We are a country that believes in the rule of law': Sir Iain Duncan Smith gives his views on trade with China

30 August 2023, 15:07 | Updated: 30 August 2023, 15:17

Iain Duncan Smith says China view UK as 'soft and weak'

By Georgina Greer

With Foreign Minister James Cleverly's visit to China, Sangita Myska speaks to Sir Iain Duncan Smith on his views on extended trade with the country.

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Sangita Myska spoke to Tory MP and former leader of the Conservative Party Sir Iain Duncan Smith as the Foreign Minister James Cleverly visits China, a trip the government says is designed to further Britain's interests.

Sir Duncan Smith has repeatedly said China poses a 'systemic threat' to Britain, but Mr Cleverly insists we must not isolate ourselves from the country.

Sangita began by challenging the MP, stating that Mr. Cleverly is right that we cannot "disengage" from China, especially in a "post-Brexit environment".

Sir Duncan Smith responded, questioning the purpose of the Foreign Minister's visit, stating that the government's policy has "weakened" and proclaiming that the line of "robust pragmatism" that has been used about China and other potentially hostile countries "means nothing".

He went on to say that China already sees Britain as "soft and weak", to which Sangita replied that we are soft and weak, asserting the "obvious truth" that post-Brexit we have "no choice but to roll over".

The former leader of the Conservatives responded that her perspective is "nonsense" and asserted that we are not "desperate" for trade with China, referring to the recently formed Trans-Pacific trade deal as an example of trade done elsewhere.

Sangita interrupted exclaiming that fifty deals under that partnership would have to be done to equal trade under the EU our former biggest trading partner.

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Sir Duncan Smith pointed out the involvement of the Chinese state in trade stating: "This is not just ordinary trade", and referred to America which he says is already pulling back in trading with China, particularly with technology.

The conversation comes following fellow Tory MP and Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Alicia Kearns' proclamation to LBC News that she believes Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's car to be "bugged" by China.

Speaking to Martin Stanford she blamed "techno-authoritarianism" for making Britain "vulnerable" as our reliance on technology allows the Chinese Communist Party to insert into our lives.

Sangita questioned the MP again on where he thinks Britain can trade that would produce the same results in resolving trade deficits, in light of this expressing her confusion on his opposition to Mr Cleverly's hand of friendship to China.

He responded with his doubts that the Foreign Minister would make any trade deals, stating: "The Chinese control all of that completely".

He went on: "It's not like doing business with the European Union or the United States, this is business with an organisation run by a central administration who's purpose in life is dominance".

With reference to China's human rights abuses, he continued: "You cannot have a relationship that worries about upsetting the Chinese when they couldn't give a damn about upsetting us or terrorising ordinary people."

Sir Duncan Smith concluded: "We are a country that believes in the rule of law, surely we should stand up for those in any relationship with any other country."