PM dislikes 'centre court', Johnson suggests

Alan Johnson's comments have raised eyebrows
Alan Johnson's comments have raised eyebrows

A senior Cabinet minister's remark that Gordon Brown dislikes being a "centre court" politician has put renewed pressure on the prime minister's leadership.

Health secretary Alan Johnson made the comment in a BBC interview as he prepares to outline major NHS reforms, a key part of Mr Brown's premiership, to parliament.

"I guess in the analogy of Wimbledon, I mean Gordon's not interested in strutting his stuff on the show courts and he's quite happy to do it on the outer courts, which makes him quite unique for a politician," Mr Johnson said.

Asked to clarify the comment on BBC News 24 this morning, Mr Johnson denied its negative implications.

"He'll achieve the results and serve more aces than Andy Murray whether he's on the centre courts or on the outer courts," the minister added.

He contrasted the embattled prime minister's leadership style with "people like me" who he said liked "showing off a bit".

Mr Johnson was a failed contender for the Labour party's deputy leadership last year.


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