Blair pressured to say whether he wants EU presidency27/10/2009 - 13:07:18
Tony Blair was under pressure today to declare whether he wants to be the first President of Europe – as Downing Street was forced to deny it had ordered official lobbying for him to take up the post.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s spokesman stressed it was for Mr Blair to announce whether he wants the job, to be created if and when the controversial Lisbon Treaty is ratified.
With the issue expected to dominate the headlines, and the sidelines, at this week’s EU summit, the premier’s spokesman left open the prospect that Mr Blair himself may have had behind-the-scenes contacts with government senior officials to take soundings.
A report in today’s Guardian said Mr Brown’s most senior adviser on Europe, John Cunliffe, and Britain’s EU ambassador Kim Darroch were “taking soundings at senior levels”.
Mr Brown’s spokesman said: “There wouldn’t be any sense in the Prime Minister doing that, given we haven’t got a treaty ratified and Tony Blair has not indicated whether or not he wishes to be a candidate.
“If the treaty is ratified and if Tony Blair wishes to be a candidate for the role the Prime Minister has clearly said he will have his full support.”
The spokesman went on: “Officials have not been asked to go and lobby for Tony Blair’s candidacy.
“Officials are not lobbying for Tony Blair for the presidency because he has not put himself forward as a candidate.”
The spokesman also stressed that as the post did not yet exist, there was not a detailed job description for it.
Some nations are said to want the job to fulfil the task of simply chairing meetings of heads of government, while Mr Blair himself may foresee a more wide-ranging international ambassadorial role.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.