Doubts about Mervyn King's future as Governor of the Bank of England were raised yesterday after Downing Street refused to say Gordon Brown would reconfirm him in the post in June. Reports of a rift between Mr King and the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, over the Northern Rock fiasco have fuelled the uncertainty.
Mr King was under fire for not acting more quickly to assure Northern Rock's savers that their money was safe to stop the run on the bank. But on Tuesday he told the BBC that Mr Darling, a close friend of the Prime Minister, rejected a proposal from LloydsTSB to take over the bank in exchange for a £30bn loan at commercial rates from the Bank of England.
Mr King later denied any rift with Mr Darling but his remarks put the Chancellor on the defensive. Labour MPs close to Mr Brown accused him of speaking out when he should "remain quiet". A spokesman for Mr Brown said yesterday: " The Prime Minister believes Mervyn King is a first-rate Governor."