British foreign minister cancels India trip: report

August 1st, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

London, Aug 1 (IANS) British Foreign Minister David Miliband, seen as a contender for leadership of the ruling Labour party, has been asked to cancel a trip to India, a newspaper reported Friday. The Times said Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ordered a series of meetings with his most senior ministers at the start of next month as he “seeks to restore his authority”.

It said Brown could be planning to reshuffle his ministers within weeks.

The India trip had been scheduled for Sep 7-10.

The news came as Miliband launched a defence of himself after making comments that were interpreted as a challenge to Brown’s authority.

“I am not running a leadership campaign. I have always wanted to support Gordon’s leadership,” he said Thursday, after Brown’s allies denounced him as self-serving and disloyal.

In an article written for the pro-Labour Guardian newspaper Wednesday, Miliband said: “To get our message across we must be more humble about our shortcomings, but more compelling about our achievements.

“When people hear exaggerated claims either about failure or success, they switch off. That is why politicians across all parties fail to connect.”

The contents of the article were widely played up in the British press and interpreted as constituting a challenge to Gordon Brown’s leadership.

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