White House scorn for BP chief’s sailing trip

By politics.co.uk staff

American anger at BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward has increased another notch, after the under-fire boss went sailing this weekend.

Mr Hayward participated with his son on the JP Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race on Britain’s south coast on his first day off since the Gulf of Mexico environmental crisis began on April 20th.

He had been accused of stonewalling by congressmen as he appeared on Capitol Hill on Thursday and faced further criticism for taking time off soon afterwards.

US president Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC’s This Week programme in an interview broadcast today that the boating incident was “just… part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes”.

Mr Hayward has been criticised for not being sufficiently contrite in the immediate wake of the explosion onboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which left 11 workers dead. At least 35,000 barrels a day are still leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

“To quote Tony Hayward, he’s got his life back,” added Mr Emanuel, referring to a comment made by Mr Hayward earlier this month.

“I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting.”

Greenpeace campaigner Charlie Kronick, meanwhile, described Mr Hayward’s boating trip as “insulting… rubbing salt into the wounds” of the people affected by the oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in US history.