UK Prime Minister Would Veto Brown IMF Role

UK Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out any bid by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take the top job at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday, saying Brown was in denial about the economic crisis.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown
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Prime Minister Gordon Brown

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the prime minister said Brown “might not be the most appropriate person” take over as managing director of the IMF when its current head Dominique Strauss - Kahn steps down next year.

Strauss - Kahn comes to the end of his five - year term as managing director in 2012 and there has been speculation for some time that he may run against Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential elections.

Last week Brown made a speech in the US in which he admitted to having made a "big mistake" in setting up the UK's Financial Services Authority without appreciating the complex relations between global institutions.

The speech was interpreted by the press as being the first move towards seeking election to the IMF role.

Although Brown is currently thought to be among the favourite candidates for the role, he would need the backing of his own country in order to be appointed, something the prime minister suggested he would be unlikely to receive.

"I haven't spent a huge amount of time thinking about this but if you have someone who didn't think we had a debt problem in the UK, when we self-evidently do have a debt problem...

they might not be the most appropriate person to work out whether other countries around the world have debt and deficit problems," Cameron said.

The prime minister also suggested that the IMF should look beyond its traditional European roots for a new leader.

"It's very important the IMF is led by someone extraordinarily competent and capable.

It may well be when you think the IMF has got to be listened to and taken seriously by countries not just in the West but all over the world, it may well be its time to have a candidate from another part of the world in order to increase its standing in the world,” he said in the BBC interview.

"It may well be time actually to have a candidate from another part of the world in order to increase its standing in the world.” "Above all what matters is the person running the IMF is someone who understands the dangers of excessive debts, excessive deficits and it really must be someone who gets that."

Downing Street refused to comment further on the prime minister's remarks. Gordon Brown’s office was also unavailable for comment.