Nick Clegg has killed off speculation that he would stand down before the 2015 general election to become a European Commissioner.
MPs of all parties have repeatedly floated the scenario of the Deputy Prime Minister quitting as the Liberal Democrat leader the year before to begin a new career in Brussels.
The switch would enable the party to go into the next election with a leader less associated with the Conservatives – and potentially with a greater appeal to former Labour voters who supported the Lib Dems in 2010. The next vacancy for a British EU Commissioner will occur in 2014.
However, Mr Clegg, deputising for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Question Time, flatly ruled out the move in response to a question from the Tory Eurosceptic MP Mark Reckless.
Mr Reckless asked him: “Does the Deputy Prime Minister expect to be involved in the selection process for our next EU Commissioner?”
The Lib Dem leader responded: “I won't be a candidate, however much you might hope otherwise.“