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Gaitskell, Bevan, Healey, Heseltine, Portillo all missed out on the top job. But who are the latest contenders for might-have-beens?

By Anne McElvoy   February 2010

Who will be the next best prime minister we never had? Every generation has at least one: a figure who gathers more admirers the longer they fail to wear the crown. The less popular the actual leader, the more beguiling the idea of the one who might be. “If only we weren’t stuck with Gordon,” echoes the cry in new Labour. Any party bearing the burden of a recession and long incumbency would be ill-loved. No denying it though, Brown invites such passion from the ABG (anyone but Gordon) camp.

An “effing disaster,” as former defence secretary John Hutton daintily…

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