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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 March 2007, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Johnson: I almost ran for leader
Alan Johnson
I would like to remain as a cabinet minister. I like being a front line politician and there's no reason why as Deputy Leader I can't stay as Secretary of State for Education
Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson has admitted that in what he called the "febrile atmosphere" of last autumn's Labour Party conference, he considered standing for the party leadership.

He said: "The run up to our conference there was a febrile atmosphere around - it looked like everyone was going to be throwing their hat in the ring.

"And I thought if everyone's doing it I might as well do it as well. Then everything calmed down we came away from our conference very united very determined that yes there may be a contest but there'll only be a conference if two candidates or two three four candidates genuinely think they can do that job."

In an interview with the Politics Show, the Education Secretary, who is running for the Labour Deputy Leadership, also said that he wants to remain as a Cabinet Minister, even if he is elected as Deputy Leader.

Front line politics

He said: "I would like to remain as a cabinet minister. I like being a front line politician and there's no reason why as Deputy Leader I can't stay as Secretary of State for Education, provided the Prime Minister decides that what he or she would want me to do.

"So I want to stay in front line politics. I don't see the Deputy Leader as some kind of party apparatchik I see it as an essential complement to the Leader."

He also defended the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and likely next leader, who has been criticised this week for not being collegial.

Mr Johnson said: "Gordon is extremely charming - he doesn't need any lessons in charm from me - but I have worked with Gordon for a long time and I think I can complement his tremendous leadership skills, his tremendous intellect, his great sense of a moral purpose in politics."

The Politics Show Sunday 25 March 2007 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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