16 Jul 2009

Blair candidate for European president

5:51 am on 16 July 2009

Former British prime minister Tony Blair is the UK candidate for president of the European Council.

Europe Minister Baroness Kinnock said in Strasbourg on Wednesday that Britain was supporting Mr Blair for one of the most powerful posts in the EU.

Asked if this had been discussed with Mr Blair, she said the government would not do that without asking him.

Lady Kinnock went on to say Mr Blair had the "strength of character" and "status" to take on the job.

The BBC reports it was the first time a UK government minister has publicly announced Mr Blair is a candidate for the job.

The post does not yet exist - it will be created if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified by all EU states.

Ireland is to hold a second referendum in October. The BBC reports the treaty was rejected in an earlier referendum last June.