Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 7 News List

UK foreign secretary says US relationship unchanged

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday tried to quash the view that Britain would cool its relationship with the US in the wake of two speeches by government ministers close to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Miliband insisted that there would be "no change" in the relationship after a second minister, Lord Malloch Brown, who was appointed to the Foreign Office earlier this month, suggested that Britain would not "be joined at the hip" to the US.

His comments followed an equally critical speech by the international development secretary, Douglas Alexander, in Washington, which was widely interpreted as a sign that relations with the US would change under Brown.

Miliband told the BBC's current affairs television program on Sunday: "Our commitment to work with the Americans in general and the Bush administration in particular is resolute." He said Britain wanted to be "serious players" in the world.

"You do that with the US, not against," he said.

Liam Fox, the opposition Conservative party's foreign affairs spokesman, told the Sky News Sunday Live program that Brown's government was giving "confusing signals."

Brown's problem with US relations was a blip on a weekend which saw the Labour party regain the initiative in the polls, gaining a seven-point lead over the Conservatives in an opinion poll in the Sunday Telegraph.

Labour was polling 40 percent, the Conservatives were down to 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats were at 19 percent. Labour's reversal of fortune in the polls fueled interest in whether Brown could call an early election, given that he has already told Ed Miliband, the Cabinet Office minister, to start working on the next general election manifesto.

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