Miliband will ‘fight for Britain’ – not himself

By Alex Stevenson

David Miliband has insisted he is “committed” to the government in his latest denial of interest in the European foreign minister role.

The post of high representative to the European Commission will be decided alongside the senior presidency role in a special summit of the European Union on November 19th.

Speculation that Britain’s foreign secretary might be in the running for the foreign minister post if Tony Blair’s struggling campaign for the presidency fails is ongoing, but Mr Miliband reiterated his denial this evening.

Speaking in a joint press conference with new German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, Mr Miliband said: “I am deeply honoured that leading Europeans thought I should do a good job.

“When I said I was not a candidate for the post of high representative, I meant it. I’m committed to Britain and I’m committed to the Labour government.

“When the choice came to me about whether to stay in Britain or leave it, there was only one answer – to stay and fight for the Britain I believe in. There was no doubt in my mind, and I hope there’s no doubt in yours.”

The looming working dinner in Brussels in which the presidency and high representative post will be decided comes just days before the Lisbon treaty comes into effect on December 1st.

Mr Miliband said he backed Mr Blair’s candidacy, despite the former prime minister now appearing a rank outsider behind the prime ministers of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“There are eight days to go, and eight days is a long time in politics,” he stressed.