The Guardian's Patrick Wintour is reporting that former Foreign Secretary David Miliband may become Britain's next Ambassador to the United States.
I hope the story is wrong for all sorts of reasons…
- The Coalition has appointed enough Labour-ites to top positions including Lord Browne, Will Hutton, John Hutton and (excusably) Frank Field. If Cameron/ Hague aren't going to appoint a career diplomat they owe some loyalty to the Right.
- The appointment of Peter Jay to Washington by David Owen in 1977 is not a good precedent. Jay had the Labour connections to be a good and faithful ambassador for a Labour government. Does a Conservative-led government want a Labour man as their representative in the USA?
- Miliband is deeply committed to the EU and made disgraceful attacks on the Tories' decision to leave the EPP. We should have an ambassador in Washington who explains why it is not in America's interests to have a Britain submerged in a European foreign policy. In other policy areas – eg on attitudes to the United Nations and global warming, David Miliband is clearly a man of the Left.
- He was a poor Foreign Secretary, insulting key allies in, for example, India and Israel.
- My 60/40 prediction is that Barack Obama (who has had a good few weeks) will be re-elected but we need a Washington Embassy that invests in relations with the GOP so that Britain is connected with emerging Republican leaders. David Miliband is the wrong man to lead that outreach. His connections are all Democrat.
8am on Tuesday: Downing Street has dismissed the story as “complete nonsense” (FT (£)).