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PM denies neglecting human rights on trade visit

DAVID Cameron has denied promoting trade at the expense of human rights on his trip to China as a £4.5 billion order was placed for 100,000 Jaguar Land Rovers and a £200 million joint science research fund was agreed.

As a raft of other agreements were sealed from tackling cross-border crime to creating a digital alliance that could open up £2bn of opportunities for British firms, the Prime Minister said: "I don't believe there is a choice between raising growth and investment issues or raising human rights issues; I raised them both. That's what a policy of engagement is all about."

Asked if he had mentioned Tibet or Liu Xiaobo, China's imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mr Cameron said: "We spoke about all those issues as I always do. Whenever I come to China, I always raise human rights issues and I continue to do that on this visit."

He added: "The British policy towards Tibet is unchanged. I have met the Dalai Lama as leader of the opposition, I have met him as Prime Minister, I don't have plans to meet him again. But my diary is for me to decide."

Meanwhile, No 10 rejected claims Mr Cameron had embarked on a "crony trip" given the background of some of the 120-strong trade mission. They include the PM's stepfather-in-law, a neighbour from his Oxfordshire constituency, a former No 10 aide and an ex-Tory Party treasurer.

Challenged that it was a "crony trip", a Downing St spokesman said: "I don't accept that at all," stressing how the delegation had been drawn together by UK Trade and Investment, the Foreign Office's trade arm. He pointed out all the business delegates were required to pay their own way.

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