Alan Johnson seems to regret not standing to be Labour leader

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he also suggested Corbyn's mandate was so large that he should be leader for some time

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Indy Politics

Labour MP Alan Johnson has hinted that he now thinks he should have stood to be leader of his party.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on 28 September Mr Johnson, a former shadow chancellor, said he should “perhaps” be doing Jeremy Corbyn’s job.

“[Jeremy Corbyn will] perhaps be the servant of the party that I never was, that perhaps I should have been. Many people criticised me for that. I think he will be the leader at the next election, yes,” he told the programme.

Appearing to suggest he would not stand in future, he also however added that Mr Corbyn’s mandate was so large that he should be leader for some time.

“Anyone who is voted in that emphatically should be there for, I think Tom Watson said ten years. I think that’s probably true,” he said.

During the previously Parliament Mr Johnson was occasionally tipped as a candidate to replace Ed Miliband before the general election. No such coup ever materialised, however. 

Mr Johnson made his comments about leadership during Labour’s party conference, which is ongoing in Brighton until 30 September.

On 27 September another MP previously tipped as a leader, Stratham MP Chuka Umunna, was asked at a fringe event hosted by the think-tank Demos whether he would consider running for leader.

Mr Umunna did not answer directly and said he had previously lacked an “infrastructure” to respond to press intrusion on his personal life. He said the party had a lot of work to do to come up with an offer that the electorate would warm to, and appeared to leave the door open to a future run. 

The conference is seen as a crucial time for Mr Corbyn’s new leadership – and as an opportunity to convince a hostile press that he is leadership material.

The new Labour leader put in an assured performance on the Andrew Marr Show on 27 September – an interview he was reported to have previously snubbed on his first day as leader.

The conference will end on 30 September and be followed by the Conservative conference, in Manchester, next weekend.

 

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