Apology to Denmark and Belgium after peer's outburst


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On top of the many things a new tourism marketing campaign has proclaimed Britain to be "Great" for, one Labour peer seemed determined to add one more item yesterday: jingoistic insults.

Becoming frustrated at suggestions that the UK was no longer a first-rate military power, former Labour security minister Lord West told a gathering at Labour party headquarters that the country was "not bloody Denmark or Belgium".

Addressing his "annoyance" at the claim that Britain was a second-tier power, Lord West said: "We are a permanent member of the [United Nations] Security Council and I think that gives us certain clout and certain ability. These mean we are not a second-tier power. We are not bloody Denmark or Belgium, and if we try to become that, I think we would be worse off as a result."

His comments were criticised as "stupid and insensitive" by Defence Secretary Liam Fox.