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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 07:14 GMT
Brown considers IMF job
Gordon Brown Would the architect of Labour's economic strategy want to go?

The UK Chancellor, Gordon Brown, is reportedly considering a bid to become managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF manages the world economy along with its sister institution the World Bank. It was severely tested during the world financial crisis in the last two years.

IMF demo The IMF has faced criticism over its role in developing countries
Gordon Brown has taken a key role in suggestions for reforming the institution, and he is believed to interested in implementing those reforms.

He is also anxious to promote a British candidate for the top job, which has traditionally been held by the French.

No leading candidate has yet emerged since the resignation of Michel Camdessus one week ago.

According the Financial Times newspaper, Mr Brown may have recognised that his ambitions to become Prime Minister are unlikely to be realised because of the determination of Tony Blair to serve for two, or possibly three terms.

Mr Brown became chair of the IMF's interim committee, which sets policy for the organisation, in September.

Political earthquake

But the departure of Mr Brown would amount to a political earthquake in Downing Street.

With only 18 months to go before the probable date of the next election, Mr Brown is a key member of the Labour Party's campaign committee.

He is also the architect of many of Labour's most important policy initiatives, including welfare reform, the reshaping of the tax and benefit system to give more help to families with children, and initiatives to boost enterprise.

And his role as the "iron Chancellor," enforcing fiscal discipline on a reluctant party while ensuring the independence of the Bank of England to make monetary policy, has given new credibility to the government's economic policy.

Only last week he announced further initiatives in a wide-ranging pre-Budget report.

One theory is that Mr Brown is putting forward his name in order to emphasise how indispensable he is to the Labour government.

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