British minister blames 'right-wing nutters' for US debt row
British Business Secretary Vince Cable attacked "right-wing nutters" in the US Congress for rejecting a debt deal, saying they pose a bigger threat to the world economy than the eurozone crisis.
The comments by Cable, a Liberal Democrat who is one of the most outspoken members of Britain's coalition government, came as President Barack Obama vied with Republican lawmakers for a deal to avert an unprecedented debt default.
"The irony of the situation at the moment, with markets opening tomorrow morning, is that the biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few right-wing nutters in the American Congress rather than the eurozone," Cable told the BBC.
A new debt deal struck in Europe to prevent a default by Greece, a move which could also help struggling Ireland, proved that the European Union was now showing the United States the way to go, he added.
The deal was a "significant step forward", he said.
But Peter Bone, a lawmaker from the Conservative Party, the major partner in the coalition, said Cable's comments were "insensitive" following twin attacks in Norway that killed at least 93 people.
The main suspect is described by police as a Christian fundamentalist.
"It is a shame he (Cable) did not engage his brain before opening his mouth," Bone said.
Cable, a former economist, was secretly recorded by a British newspaper last year saying he had "declared war" on media mogul Rupert Murdoch over a bid to take full control of pay TV company BSkyB.
In September, Cable caused controversy by condemning excessive bankers' bonuses paid to "spivs and gamblers".
© 2011 AFP