Burnham warning as Labour faces heavy local election losses
Labour must reconnect in the north or face “serious consequences”, Andy Burnham has said, with the party forecast to lose more than 100 seats in next week’s council elections.
The Greater Manchester mayoral candidate said there was “too much Hampstead and not enough Hull” in today’s Labour Party.
Speaking to The Times before the elections on Thursday for six newly created “metro mayors”, as well as 4,851 council seats, he justifies his failure to include Jeremy Corbyn in his election material by suggesting that Labour in the north needs to “break away” from the national party.
Fruitless search for party diehards in former stronghold
For almost a century, Leeds Central has been a safe Labour seat. It has the 36th-biggest majority of any Labour seat in the country. Hilary Benn, the prominent offspring of a Labour dynasty, won it with a near-17,000 majority in 2015. It last voted Conservative in 1923.
So where have the Labour voters gone? Standing for more than two hours in 19th-century Kirkgate Market, The Times found two people who would admit to voting for the party that has had a stronghold over the city for decades. Instead, most stallholders and passers-by were disillusioned. Some recent Labour voters were turning to the Tories, others to Ukip. Many just do not want to know.
‘Labour had better reconnect in the north, or there’ll be serious trouble’
It is Andy Burnham’s last day in parliament. After more than 20 years at Westminster — as a special adviser, MP, cabinet minister and Labour leadership contender — he is giving up his seat to stand in the Greater Manchester mayoral contest next week.