Burnham launches attack on Starmer as he admits leadership hopes

Andy Burnham warned Labour needed to be “bolder” as he criticised Sir Keir Starmer for being too timid in his policies.

The Manchester Mayor said he was supporting the party leader before launching a series of attacks on Sir Keir’s policy agenda.

“This is the time for Labour to move up and set out an alternative that people can support.

“I want to be clear, I am supporting Keir, I want to party to unite here in Liverpool, they’ve got us in a position where we have a clear and sustained poll lead which is no small achievement. It’s a big achievement.

“I think the Government have put out an opportunity now for Labour to put out a programme that connects with ordinary people.

“So yes, I would say, be bolder, be clear about what we will do.”

Mr Burnham said it is now “odds on” that the UK will have a Labour government within the next two years as he spoke ahead of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool this week.

He criticised Sir Keir for failing to back reforming the UK electoral system and not committing to renationalising the energy sector.

“I do think it’s right to be open-minded about more public control, more public ownership, so we don’t leave ourselves so exposed to energy costs,” he said.

However, he congratulated Sir Keir and Ed Miliband on their newly announced policy to end dependence on fossil fuels.

“This is a good bold policy from Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband, this morning,” the mayor of Greater Manchester told Sky News.

“This is the right way to go – face up to the future rather than going back to the past with fracking, which by the way, would really impact on an area like this where I’m talking to you from now, a former mining area.”

His latest intervention comes amid continued speculation Mr Burnham hopes to one day challenge Sir Keir for the Labour leadership.

He admitted this morning he still has ambitions to one day lead the party and said he was “a better politician” having left Westminster.

Mr Burnham suggested he could return to Parliament as soon as just two years’ time.

More to follow…