Andy, you're a star. Photo: Getty Images
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We've got two choices in this leadership race: unify around Andy, or fall apart under Jeremy Corbyn

Kendall backer Jonny Reynolds says that the numbers are clear: Andy Burnham is the only candidate left who can stop Jeremy Corbyn. 

The leadership contest is drawing to a close and finally all 600,000 of us who are registered will get to cast our votes and help set a new direction for the Party.

I am proud to have been an early backer of Liz Kendall and proud of the campaign she has fought. She will receive my first preference. But I also feel a responsibility to say where I will cast my second preference. Along with Toby Perkins, Gloria de Piero and many other Liz supporters I will be giving my second preference to Andy Burnham.

Andy is the public’s choice for Labour leader and with the huge task ahead to win in 2015 I believe electing the public’s choice, and the leader who most voters say will make Labour electable again,is the right thing to do.

But there is something even more important than that. This contest has become a battle for the unity of our party. United parties are strong oppositions and are better placed to win elections. Divided parties are weak and lose.

I believe this election has become a straight choice for the Labour party between unity and division. If Labour does not now unite around Andy Burnham then it will divide under Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy is a decent man and has run a principled campaign but it is clear that his leadership of the Labour party would risk leaving us with years of looking inwards, fighting each other, when the country desperately needs Labour looking outwards and fighting the Tories.

Only Andy Burnham can now beat Jeremy Corbyn. That much is clear. The polls show Jeremy ahead but many members are still making up their minds between Jeremy and Andy. If Andy is knocked out then enough of his second preferences will transfer to Jeremy that Jeremy will certainly win. But if Andy and Jeremy both make the run-off then I believe Andy has the broad appeal across the party to win this election. I urge all those who want to keep our party united and don’t believe a Corbyn victory will do this to lend Andy their support.

Andy Burnham can unite our party and draw on the best talents from right across Labour. One Labour party, taking the fight to the Tories. That is what Andy Burnham offers and it is why he will get my second preference vote.

Jonathan Reynolds is Labour/Coop MP for Stalybridge and Hyde and Chair of Christians on the Left.

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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.