Andy Burnham: Labour should have a woman leader "when the time is right"

The one-time frontrunner for the Labour leadership tripped over his mouth again.


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Andy Burnham was asked by a Radio 5Live hustings if it would be good for Labour to have a woman leader.  "When the time is right," the Leigh MP responded. (Presumably, when Andy Burnham isn't running to lead the Labour party.) Liz Kendall, one of his rivals, urged him to support a woman leader, jokingly offering him the post of deputy.

Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North and a supporter of Yvette Cooper, blasted the remarks. "What on earth does Andy mean by saying he'd support a woman leader 'when the time is right'?" Johnson asked, "Is he suggesting that even now - in 2015 - the Labour Party is not ready for a woman leader?" "The big question to Andy," she added, "Is if 'not now, then when?"

Burnham also got himself into a muddle over whether he would serve on Jeremy Corbyn's frontbench. Having previously suggested he would take a Shadow Cabinet, he made it clear he wouldn't support exit from NATO - raising the possibility of an early resignation should the Islington North MP appoint him to the shadow cabinet. 

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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