DAVID Cameron has taken a veiled swipe at one of his predecessors Sir John Major over his blast at Britain – and warned him not to "underestimate" the country's strength.
The ex-PM took aim at Britain's critics after Sir John made a controversial speech where he said Britain should accept it is no longer a first-rate global power.
Tory MPs lashed out at Sir John and branded him a "second rate PM" for claiming the UK will "never again" be seen as having a forceful presence on the global stage.
The gloomy ex-premier claimed Brits cannot "console" themselves by claiming "we punch above our weight" on the world stage.
And he said the UK's "heft international influence" was buoyed up by being a member of the European Union and having close ties with the US.
But today Mr Cameron joined in a thinly-veiled attack on the ex-premier, saying people should not underestimate the strength we have.
Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme he said: "Looking to the future, while we should never overestimate what Britain is today, we shouldn't underestimate it."
He went on to list how Britain has the biggest defence and aid budgets in Europe, and one of the most capable diplomatic services.
Our "extraordinarily competant" special services and special forces put us on the world stage and we can "bring to bear in our relationship with the US".
Mr Cameron, who stepped down as PM in 2016 after losing the EU referendum when Brits chose Brexit, said he was "full of confidence about the special relationship going forward".
He worked closely with Joe Biden under President Obama – and said Boris would "get on extremely well" with him when he gets into office next year.
Mr Cameron added: "When it came to the big topics and subjects, Britain not only had the shared values and understanding with the President and the American administration, which I think we will have with Johnson and Biden, we also had capabilities that were genuinely useful.
"With the new aircraft carriers, that’s one tangible sign that Britain is still very serious about playing a proper global role, as we should do."
And he said it wasn't helpful for him to get involved in the throws of the Brexit talks – accepting it would make it even more difficult for Boris Johnson to secure a deal.
Yesterday Tory MPs tore into Sir John for his speech, blasting him as a a "second rate Prime Minister" who "never understood Brexit".
Andrew Bridgen told The Sun: "What do you expect from a man who is widely considered a second rate Prime Minister?"
He tore into suggestions the UK was no longer relevant to the EU post Brexit: "Clearly the UK is a huge asset, not least because of the £15 billion a year we've been paying into the coffers.
"If the EU didn't think the UK was of such huge value they wouldn't be so keen to hang onto us."
Mr Bridgen said the former Tory PM's comments were "destructive".
Senior Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne slammed the former PM, saying: "There are no small nations, only small minds".
In a short but scathing response to Sir John's comments, Conservative MP for Telford Lucy Allan responded "So what?" to his speech.
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