Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has voiced his interest in the top job at NATO.
When asked about the secretary general position by the German news agency DPA during a trip to Berlin to discuss Ukraine with his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius, Wallace said: “I’ve always said it would be a good job. That’s a job I’d like.”
He continued: “But I’m also loving the job I do now. I mean, to be Defence Secretary of the British Government at a time of reform and investment, just like Boris Pistorius.”
The rumours are heating up around who is to replace Jens Stoltenberg as the Norwegian’s eight-year term comes to an end this autumn.
Wallace was also suitably cautious: “But it’s not for me to decide. It’s for all the other allies.”
It is likely to be a private affair as the member states come to an agreement on who should lead NATO at a particularly tricky geopolitical moment. Wallace conceded that his chances may be scuppered by those pushing for NATO’s first female secretary general or a leader from Eastern Europe. The French are also thought to prefer someone from the EU.
Should Wallace succeed Stoltenberg, he would be the first Brit to occupy the role since George Robertson – now Lord Robertson and also a former defence secretary – in 2003. Like Robertson, his taking the job would trigger a by-election in his constituency of Wyre and Preston North which is to be scrapped anyway later in the year in a Westminster constituency shake-up.
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