David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, could be offered the post of British ambassador in Washington, it was reported last night.
Such an offer would present Mr Miliband with a dilemma. Some friends believe he is prepared to quit British politics following his defeat by his brother, Ed, in Labour's leadership election three months ago.
But others say the ambassador's post would not appeal to him, since he would be an emissary for the Coalition Government rather than making policy in his own right. Mr Miliband would have to stand down as MP for South Shields to take the Washington job, which may become vacant next year because the career diplomat Sir Nigel Sheinwald is due to retire.
Cabinet ministers insist the idea reflects David Miliband's experience, abilities and his good relationship with Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and is not aimed at removing from British politics a potential threat to the Tories.