Iain Duncan Smith has chastised Rishi Sunak for “appearing weak” in response to China, and has called on the UK government to take strong action and use strong rhetoric.
During the Tory leadership election, the Prime Minister called China a “threat” before backtracking and calling Beijing a strategic “challenge.”
“I am disappointed in my government over this particular area because the prime minister said during the summer that China represented a systemic threat and then recently shifted that to systemic challenge,” Mr Duncan-Smith told Sky News’ Sophie Ridge.
“The problem with the challenge is it looks weak and we’ve now got a policy which sounds like it could have come from Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister, which is robust pragmatism.
“Now can somebody can please tell me what robust pragmatism means, it means nothing robust, but also pragmatic they cancel each other out.
“The reality of what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to change our integrated review, to put China in as a systemic threat.
He added: “The Americans are way ahead of us on this.
“Other countries in Europe are talking about it.
“We, the UK, could run the risk of being left behind dragging our feet.”