Ex-PM dismissed as Britain urges IMF chief from eurozone

19th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British minister appeared to dismiss former premier Gordon Brown on Thursday as a possible candidate to head the IMF, saying the top job should go to someone from within the eurozone.

Brown won international praise for his handling of the financial crisis as prime minister between 2007 and 2010, and is mooted as a possible successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has quit after being charged with sexual assault.

But the former Labour leader would need the support of the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in London, and Business Secretary Vince Cable suggested that would not be forthcoming.

"The IMF is dealing with a major economic crisis in Europe. They need somebody very effective and respected," Cable told the BBC.

"Particularly somebody who understands the internal problems of the eurozone. That is probably where the new head of the IMF will come from.

"If it doesn't, someone from the eastern Asian countries who has had a very successful record in economic management."

Last month, Brown was appointed unpaid chairman of a new policy group at the World Economic Forum, which said he offered "valuable insights into the global agenda" from his premiership and his ten years as finance minister before that.

Brown was known as the "iron chancellor" during his decade as Chancellor of the Exchequer under former premier Tony Blair, steering Britain through a path of sustained growth, high employment and low interest rates.

But his premiership coincided with the global financial crisis and Britain was particularly badly hit. The Tories, now in government, blamed him for leaving a huge budget deficit and have introduced deep spending cuts since they came to power.

Even before the scandal surrounding Strauss-Kahn created a vacancy, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron said Brown was not an "appropriate" candidate for the IMF.

© 2011 AFP

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