As Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the UK this week to launch huge money deals with Britain, the Prime Minister has defended them all after being called out on China’s poor human rights track record and the recent closure of the SSI steel plant in Redcar.

Mr Cameron has welcomed deals worth around £40 billion during President Xi’s visit and the biggest deal so far is China’s 30% stake in a new nuclear plant. The PM said that Britain and China could maintain a “strong relationship” while having “necessary and frank discussions” about issues like the steel industry in the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and the importance of human rights.

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssenberg, asked both leaders about China’s human rights issue. Jinping’s answer came through a translator and said that China places great importance on the protection of human rights but “we combine the universal value of human rights with China’s reality and we have found a part of human rights development suited to China’s national conditions”.

However, the President did admit that “there is always room for improvement.”

On what has been discussed with China on human rights, Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister raised the issue of human rights, the importance of countries working together to address issues, to talk about the importance of what this means as countries develop and move forwards.”