Mitt Romney has been treated unfairly by the UK press, IDS claims

IDS regrets UK’s ‘demonisation’ of Romney

IDS regrets UK’s ‘demonisation’ of Romney

Iain Duncan Smith has attacked Britain's media for "smeary reporting" of Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney.

The work and pensions secretary criticised the UK's print media in particular for their coverage of Barack Obama's rival, as last-minute campaigning in the US continues apace on the other side of the Atlantic.

"I think the American election's been appallingly reported here in the UK," Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics programme last night.

"The demonisation of Mitt Romney over here has been appalling.

"Whilst he may have faults – all politicians have faults – this is a guy who actually ran a state very well, he got debts and deficit down.

"Whatever else you say about this man he's not stupid, and he's made out to be stupid over here. And he's quite capable of running stuff."

Romney's stewardship of Massachusetts and his work on the Atlanta Olympic Games have formed the basis of the 'track record' flagged by his campaign.

But his impressive work was undermined by a trip to Britain before the London 2010 Games, when he warned of "disconcerting" signs that the UK was not ready and – against standard practice – revealed he had met with the head of MI6.

Romney also described Ed Miliband as "Mr Leader", leading some to suggest he had forgotten the Labour leader's name.

British government ministers are instructed to be scrupulously neutral during foreign government elections on pragmatic grounds, but Duncan Smith came close to backing Romney outright as he criticised the UK media's presentation of the debate.

He added: "It's been a very one-sided representation of things. They don't explain the nature of the US – it's all very smeary reporting, as if they're all a very unsophisticated bunch of people.

"I think the print media have turned it into a very shallow two-dimensional fight. I do think he's nowhere near what has been represented over here to the British public."

Duncan Smith denied he was personally supporting Romney, however: "I don't really know him, I'm not a fan."