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John Rentoul: David Miliband's threat to Brown

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Tuesday, 10 November 2009 at 09:59 am
Oops. The Times, unexpectedly, this morning asks Number 168 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No:

Is David Miliband seeking the role of EU foreign minister?

Just as Nick Robinson was briefed last night that the Foreign Secretary has decided not to take the job and "sees his future in British politics".

A bit rich for me to make fun, of course, given that I answered the same question in the affirmative just nine days ago. My defence is that it was true at the time: Miliband was genuinely tempted by the EU foreign affairs job. He thought about it carefully but has now made a decision.

This is good news for the country and the Labour Party. It suggests that Miliband thinks that there is a serious chance that there will be a change of prime minister before the election. As chairman emeritus of the AJ4PM campaign, all I  can say is: the more top-quality candidates for the succession the better. I think there has to be a leadership contest if there is a change, even in the short time before the general election, and to have two excellent alternative leaders available is better than one. The speculation about Miliband's European future has enhanced his reputation and made the Labour Party realise how disastrous it would have been had he abandoned it.

Photo: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images
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