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Vaulting ambition outvaulted

Does Alan Johnson really see himself as the next PM? The Secretary of State nearly gave the game away at the education select committee last week. Rob Wilson, a Tory committee member, cheekilyJasked him: "When Tony Blair stands down next year and you take over as Prime Minister, will your priorities, like his, be 'education, education, education'." Mr Johnson replied: "Yes - I would probably describe it as 'learning, learning, learning', but it's the same thing."

So was this an admission of his ambition? It's hard to tell - because between the question and the answer, Barry Sheerman, the committee's chairman, leapt in front of the bullet to tell the minister he need address only "the education part" of the question, rendering it pointless (unless anyone is surprised that an Education Secretary's priority is... erm... education).

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