UK Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested he may prevent former Labour PM Gordon Brown from becoming the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Cameron has indicated that Brown, who preceded him as Britain’s PM, is not the most appropriate person to lead the IMF since, among other things, he would not admit that Britain had a debt problem.
There has been much media speculation that Brown wants the IMF top job.
In a direct commentary on Brown’s skills, Cameron said the head of the IMF should be someone extraordinarily competent and capable.
Upon the expiration of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s five-year term as IMF chief next year, Brown was hoping to take the job, but he has to first be nominated by the government. (It is believed Strauss-Kahn will prepare a run for the French presidency).
Britain and some of the other major countries have an effective veto on the appointment of the IMF chief.
However, it seems unlikely Cameron will support Brown.
The Prime Minister told BBC Radio: I haven't spent a huge amount of time thinking about this but it does seem to me that, 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, then they might not be the most appropriate person to work out whether other countries around the world have debt and deficit problems.
Cameron added: I certainly don't want a washed-up politician.”
Cameron also praised Strauss-Kahn for doing “an excellent job.”
In another broadside against Brown, Cameron recommended that the IMF search for its new boss in another part of the world due to the changing realities of the global economy.
If you think about the general principle, you've got the rise of India and China and South Asia, a shift in the world's focus, and it may well be the time for the IMF to start thinking about that shift in focus, he said.
Above all what matters is: is the person running the IMF someone who understands the dangers of excessive debt, excessive deficit? And it really must be someone who gets that rather than someone who says that they don't see a problem.
However, the current leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband said Brown was eminently qualified to lead the IMF and that his handling of the global credit crisis was outstanding.
Miliband, who worked as a senior aide to Brown, criticized Cameron’s comments as premature.
It's slightly jumping the gun, since there isn't a vacancy at the IMF,” he said. “To rule someone out before the vacancy has arisen seems to be going some, even for him.