Conservative backbencher Henry Smith brands Vladimir Putin a 'tosser' amid 'small island' row

Henry Smith used the blunt language on Twitter

A Tory backbencher who branded Vladimir Putin a "tosser" on a social networking site has defended his comments amid heightened diplomatic tension between Britain and Russia.

Henry Smith used the blunt language on Twitter to express his opinion of Mr Putin after an aide of the Russian president allegedly referred to Britain as just a ‘small island’ during the G20 meeting of world leaders.

The Crawley MP wrote on his Twitter account: "Putin really is a tosser."

The outspoken MP has left the comment on his account despite Downing Street firmly distancing themselves from the statement.

Speaking to his local newspaper the Crawley News, Mr Smith defended his comment, saying that: "Trying to get a serious point across in 140 characters is always a bit of a challenge."

"But I really think there is a serious point here, that the Putin regime in Russia breaches human rights in its own country and it is prolonging he suffering of the Syrian people by refusing to act."

“The way he is insulting our country at the G20 summit is unacceptable. He is just this absurd character who is responsible for some serious breaches of human rights.

“Perhaps I would use some more formal language in the House of Commons, but I stand by my comment — Putin is a tosser,” he added.

Speaking to the Press Association he said in other situations he would have used different language and would perhaps have accused Putin of being an "absurd character."

 

 

Today a furious David Cameron hit back at the Russian dismissal of Britain as a "small island" in a short speech which mentioned Britain's fight against fascism during the 20th century and the abolition of slavery in the 19th.

He also said the country "has invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport currently played around the world."

The Prime Minister's spokesman said it was "no secret" that there was disagreement on the Syria issue, but insisted the Government took a "robust but constructive approach" to Russia.

Asked if the Prime Minister disapproved of Mr Smith's comment, the spokesman said: "I think that we need a robust but constructive approach.

Anything else, well, I just think that's clearly not how the Government goes about its relations with Russia."

The spokesman said the need for constructive engagement with Russia "should be reflected in the language people use".

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