United Kingdom

Starmer allies warn Burnham WON'T get safe seat

Andy Burnham has been accused of blatant manoeuvring for another tilt at the leadership after revelling in his nickname as the party's 'King of the North'

Andy Burnham faced a backlash tonight as Keir Starmer allies warned him not to try and seek a swift return to the Commons after leaving the 'sh** work' of reviving Labour to others.

The Manchester mayor has been accused of blatant manoeuvring for another tilt at the leadership after revelling in his nickname as the party's 'King of the North'.

Appearing at a slew of events at party conference in Brighton, he has launched a series of jibes at Sir Keir for failing to lay out enough policy and not being 'serious' about pushing devolution. 

But his activities have infuriated supporters of Sir Keir, who insist there is 'no way' he should be allowed to get a safe seat before May 2024 - when his term as mayor ends. 

One shadow cabinet minister told MailOnline: ‘If he thinks he can swan off to Manchester and leave everyone else to do the sh** work, and then come back like a conquering hero he can think again.'

They added: ‘If you’ve been elected as mayor you should see out your term.’

Another senior frontbencher said of the swipes at the leader: 'It's rude. The members don't like it. 

'Andy's always lacked judgement and I think this is another example.'

In a brutal assessment, the MP pointed to Mr Burnham's dismal showing against Mr Corbyn in 2015. 'I don't think he would win either, when you look at the previous efforts,' they said. 

Mr Burnham is said to have been 'sniffing around' Westminster seats in recent months - including rumours that he considered pitching for Batley & Spen in the recent by-election.

In a question and answer session on stage in Brighton this afternoon, Mr Burnham claimed he and other Labour mayors held the key to winning back the Red Wall seats taken by Boris Johnson's Tories today as he failed to back Keir Starmer.

The Greater Manchester mayor boasted about 'overturning (Margaret) Thatcher's legacy' of privatisation in the socialist city and said Labour's regional leaders were 'rolling back the 1980s'.

In a clear pitch to party members he said that they had given voters 'a taste of a Labour government' through their devolved powers in areas like public transport. 

Mr Burnham's activities have infuriated supporters of Sir Keir (pictured at conference today), who insist there is 'no way' he should be allowed to get a safe seat before May 2024 - when his term as mayor ends

In contrast Sadiq Khan used his time on stage today to call for party unity and all energy to be focused on 'a Labour Government with Keir Starmer in Downing Street'

However he failed to back the party's current boss, unlike Sadiq Khan. 

The London mayor had used his time on stage beforehand to call for party unity and all energy to be focused on 'a Labour Government with Keir Starmer in Downing Street'.    

Mr Burnham appeared on stage with fellow metro mayors Dan Jarvis and Tracy Brabin, the day after complaining that he wasn't allowed to give a speech from the main stage. 

But he was given plenty of time to lay out his achievements in office to a packed hall.

Discussing the scores of seats in their northern heartlands that Mr Johnson took in the 2019 election, he said: 'I just think we are a way back for Labour in the north. 

'We have got to really think about this. The north of England is going to be a key battleground come the next general election. What we have begun to show is that we can improve Labour's results, not just in the mayoral elections but in the local elections as well.

'That is going to be really important for Labour, not allowing the Scotland effect to just drift down the country come the next general election - win back those seats in the Red Wall.

'We can win all of those seats back at the next general election - we will win those seats back at the next general election. But it means getting behind these Labour mayors  across the north and really supporting their work and the party championing what we are doing at every opportunity.' 

Boris Johnson is now neck-and-neck with Keir Starmer on 38 per cent on preference for premier - the first time a Labour leader has been on an even footing with a Tory since 2008

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