Cameron sees rival Johnson as British PM material

28th April 2013, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that one of his biggest party rivals, London Mayor Boris Johnson, could well be a future premier, in an interview published Sunday.

Johnson, one of the best-known faces in British politics, is considered a potential future challenger for Cameron's leadership of the centre-right Conservatives.

However, Johnson's second term in charge of Britain's capital city runs into 2016 -- and the next general election must take place by May 2015 at the latest.

Asked whether Johnson could combine being London mayor with a return to parliament as a lawmaker, Cameron told The Sunday Times newspaper: "Boris can do anything, that's the moral of the story of Boris."

Cameron insisted he did not feel threatened by Johnson's ambition or popularity, which was fulled during the London 2012 Olympics.

"Boris is one of the greatest assets the Conservative Party has.... I love Boris," Cameron said.

Asked whether Johnson could become prime minister, he said: "I'd never want to put a limit on what Boris can achieve."

Cameron and Johnson were in the same exclusive dining and boozing society at the prestigious Oxford University. The Bullingdon Club is known for its boisterous antics.

Cameron caused a stir on Thursday by appointing Johnson's younger brother as his head of policy, a move observers said was aimed at bringing the prime minister closer to the disgruntled right wing of his party.

Jo Johnson, a 41-year-old Conservative lawmaker, will lead the policy unit at Downing Street as part of his new role as a junior minister in the Cabinet Office ministry, which coordinates government activities.

Cameron also spoke about Conservative Party icon Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister from 1979 to 1990, who died at the age of 87.

Asked whether he was a Thatcherite, Cameron said: "No, other people would call me that.... I think the labels now sometimes don't mean what they did then.

"I was a tremendous Mrs Thatcher supporter. The battles she won were so important for our country, but there are now different challenges and things that need to be dealt with."

© 2013 AFP

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