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. 

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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.