VINCE CABLE was today embroiled in a bizarre diplomatic spat after a Lebanese MP said he was wrong to compare Theresa May to a Beirut hostage.
The Lib Dem leader said the Prime Minister was “like being handcuffed to a radiator in the basement of a flat in Beirut and she is at the mercy of other people” because of her election disaster.
But a leading politician from Lebanon slammed his “outdated” reference to the country, saying Sir Vince was spreading a negative image.
MP Nadim Gemayel told The Times: “Unfortunately Lebanon has gotten used to these outdated stereotypes.
“I find it sad to hear that the leader of the Liberal Democrats is unable to wisely choose his words especially since the UK has played such an active role in the modernisation of Lebanon after 15 years of civil war.”
Mr Gemayel’s father Bashir was the Lebanese president but was assassinated during the country’s brutal civil war.
Terry Waite, the best-known of the westerners taken hostage by jihadists in Beirut during the 1980s, also weighed in on Sir Vince’s controversial comments.
He said: “That was a long time ago and Lebanon has moved on since those days.”
Mr Waite added: “Although the image of the radiator has been fastened in the public imagination I was in fact never chained to one. I was always secured to staples driven into the wall.”