Moving to suppress speculation that the imminent changeover in UK leadership portends a shift in British policy towards the Iraq war, an American official asserted this week that the US expects the new regime to maintain continuity with Blair's policies.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told reporters on Monday that Washington had an "excellent level of discussion and dialogue" with the British government on future policy in Iraq, according to a report by the Associated Press.
"We believe there will be continuity within the UK government over the approach to Iraq and Afghanistan," the official said.
"No, I would not look at any precipitate, unilateral or sudden departure here. We do not believe we can afford to leave Iraq," the official said.
The US official's comments contradict reports that emerged over the weekend indicating that Gordon Brown was planning a "grand gesture" on Iraq policy, which would include an accelerated withdrawal of British troops.