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Andy Burnham: “I wouldn’t rule out running for Labour leader”

The Greater Manchester Mayor told a New Statesman conference he would run again for the leadership.

By Zoë Grünewald

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said yesterday that he “wouldn’t rule out” standing for the Labour leadership “one day”.

Asked by Alona Ferber, Special Projects Editor here at Spotlight, if he would consider entering the race if Keir Starmer were to resign, Burnham told the Spotlight’s Regional Development Conference in Birmingham: “I wouldn’t rule [it] out one day, if that were to open up, but it’s not any time soon from my point of view.”

His comments come after murmurings about Starmer’s future in the wake of “Beergate”, an indoor gathering held by the Labour leader and his team last year while on the campaign trail that is now being investigated by Durham police.

Burnham was giving the closing address at the conference, alongside speakers including Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, Anneliese Dodds MP, chair of the Labour Party, and Alex Burghart MP, the Minister for Skills.

Before Burnham was asked about whether he intended to run for the Labour leadership, he had outlined his thoughts on the government’s levelling-up agenda in his closing address, stating: “We will only have achieved it when the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region etc. have an economy that is comparable to the the best-performing parts of the world.”

Regarding recent policy announcements, Burnham said: “I don’t believe yet we have seen anywhere near the level of policy change needed if you are truly to level up. It is something that requires policies of a much, much more substantial nature than what is currently being suggested.” Among the changes he mentioned was the introduction of a universal basic income.

Burnham last ran to be leader in 2015, when he came second to Jeremy Corbyn. Despite remarks suggesting that he may consider doing so again, he assured the conference that any such bid would come after his tenure as mayor: “I have said often that I will be doing a full second term in Greater Manchester and I support Keir and the work that he’s doing to put Labour back into contention.”

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The conference will run again in Birmingham next year.

[See also: David Miliband: “Only brilliant people win from the centre left”]

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