Boris Johnson is an unknown ‘quantity’ in the Conservative party leadership race, according to Northampton South MP Brian Binley, following David Cameron’s surprise decision to reveal his possible successors before 2020.
The Prime Minister confirmed he would step down at the end of his second term in Parliament, if he is successful in May, in an interview with the BBC’s political correspondent James Landale yesterday.
In a shock announcement made from the kitchen of his Cotswolds home, the premier also tipped Home Secretary Theresa May, Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson as potential successors, saying they were “great people” with “plenty of talent”.
But this afternoon Northampton North MP Brian Binley, who is only two days away from stepping down himself, said he believed the Prime Minister had announced the possible leadership candidates too soon.
He said: “As Harold Wilson once said, ‘a week is a long time in politics’.
“Well this is abut 180 weeks to go before he would actually step down, a lot an happen in that time and other people will emerge.
“It’s not up to the leader to announce his successor it is down to the party.”
But when asked to give his appraisal of the three political heavyweights named by the PM, Mr Binley said that London mayor Boris Johnson still had ‘a lot to prove’ as he has never held a cabinet post.
“It’s all very well Boris cracking jokes here there and everywhere,” he added. “At the end of the day you have to be proved as a serious politician in the House of Commons before you can think about becoming leader.”
But Mr Binley believed David Cameron was ‘within his rights’ to announce his stepping down before 2020.
Critics have labelled the prime minister as arrogant’for suggesting he would still be at Number 10 in five years’ time and others have suggested that the announcement was planned.
But Mr Binley said: “I don’t think this was planned, there was no strategy, it was just a genuine off-the-cuff conversation.”
Mr Binley is set to make a final speech in Parliament on Thursday before he steps down form the Northampton South seat.