Wallace Indicates Interest in Succeeding Jens Stoltenberg as NATO Secretary General
UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has declared his interest in landing the top job at NATO, describing it as a “fantastic” role. This development emerges as current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s tenure nears its end this September.
During a diplomatic visit to Berlin for talks on Ukraine with German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, Wallace restated his ambition. Speaking to German news agency dpa, he said, “I’ve always said it would be a good job. That’s a job I’d like.”
Despite this, Wallace also expressed his commitment to his current position, stating he relishes being the UK Defence Secretary at a time of substantial reform and investment, much like Pistorius’s situation.
Expressing his respect for the NATO role, Wallace noted that serving as the secretary general of the transatlantic alliance “is a fantastic job and NATO is an incredibly important part of all our securities.”
He modestly acknowledged that the decision isn’t his alone, and that all NATO allies would have a part to play.
The race for the prestigious role is heating up, with Stoltenberg signalling that he won’t be seeking another extension after nearly a decade in service. The appointment of the alliance’s next chief is typically made behind closed doors by NATO member states.
Wallace, however, may encounter opposition from those advocating for a female leader or a representative from Eastern Europe. Moreover, France has indicated a preference for an EU candidate.
If Wallace were to clinch the role, a by-election might be required in his Wyre and Preston North constituency. This said, the constituency is due for reorganisation under a proposed reshuffling of Westminster constituencies later this year.
Past instances of such a situation include the appointment of Labour MP George Robertson as NATO chief in 1999, which resulted in a by-election in his Hamilton South constituency, south-west of Glasgow.