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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UK
Brown 'will face PM challengers'
Gordon Brown and Tony Blair
Gordon Brown is widely expected to take over from Mr Blair
There will be other candidates to challenge Chancellor Gordon Brown for the prime minister's job, a former Labour minister has said.

MP Frank Field said he believed Home Secretary John Reid would "certainly" be among those to challenge for a job widely expected to become Mr Brown's.

Tony Blair says his successor will have time to prepare for the next election.

Mr Field told the BBC Mr Brown "does not want to take over a government and a party which is just rubble".

Mr Field, speaking on BBC Two's Newsnight, said: "Well clearly, Gordon has a right to be part of that contest [to replace Mr Blair] and my guess is certainly one of the other candidates would be Dr Reid.

Since the 4 May local elections and an extensive Cabinet reshuffle, there has been pressure on Mr Blair to name a date for his departure.

"Gordon has, with the prime minister, looked into the abyss. He does not want to take over a government and a party which is just rubble," Mr Field said.

Frank Field
Frank Field said the pensions agreement would 'not last'

"And therefore, while there may not be the private agreements and all the rest, I think the next few months and years will be more calm than they would have been, because of the last seven days when I thought it was possible that the government could implode in the way we've seen previous governments implode."

His comments come after Mr Blair and Mr Brown agreed a deal on pensions - an issue that had reportedly seen the men at loggerheads.

Under the agreement, the link between the state pension and earnings will be restored - probably in 2012 following pressure on Downing Street from the Treasury.

Mr Field, a former welfare minister, said that although the pensions agreement was being presented as a deal between the premier and the chancellor, it was in fact "game, set and match" to Mr Brown.

He predicted the agreement would "not last" and it had only been announced to distract attention from government "in-fighting".

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