Andy Burnham categorically rules out trying to replace Sir Keir Starmer after his allies said the Labour leader has 12 months to prove he can win the next election or he should step aside
- Andy Burnham said no circumstances in which he would challenge Keir Starmer
- Mr Burnham dismissed reports that he is giving Sir Keir one year to prove himself
- Mayor of Greater Manchester has been widely tipped as a successor to Sir Keir
Andy Burnham today categorically ruled out trying to replace Sir Keir Starmer as Labour leader.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester agreed there are ‘no circumstances’ in which he would challenge Sir Keir for the top job.
He also dismissed reports he has told friends the current leader has one year to prove he can guide Labour to a general election victory in 2024.
Allies of Mr Burnham, who has been widely-tipped as a potential successor to Sir Keir, said the incumbent must be ‘three or four points’ ahead of Boris Johnson and the Tories in one year’s time or he should step aside.
Andy Burnham today categorically ruled out trying to replace Sir Keir Starmer as Labour leader
The Mayor of Greater Manchester agreed there are ‘no circumstances’ in which he would challenge Sir Keir for the top job
Mr Burnham insisted he had made no such declaration, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘Well, don’t forget the friends for a minute because anyone who calls themselves an ally of mine, in saying that, isn’t an ally of mine because that is patently untrue.
‘I have never said that to anybody. In fact I have committed to serve a full second term as Mayor of Greater Manchester.
‘And actually if you look back at what I said in Brighton last week I made very strongly supportive statements about Keir.’
Mr Burnham was told that he could end leadership speculation by agreeing with the statement ‘Keir Starmer is doing a good job and I, under no circumstances, am going after his job’.
The former MP replied: ‘I’ll agree with that.’
Labour’s annual conference in Brighton last week saw Sir Keir force through leadership rule changes and face down hard-left activists as he closed the door on the Jeremy Corbyn era.
His supporters believe the conference has laid the foundations for Labour to make progress but there remain questions in some quarters over his leadership of the party.
The Mail on Sunday reported that three Labour MPs are considering defecting to the Tories because they are disillusioned with the direction of the party under Sir Keir.
Labour lost ground on the Tories as both parties shipped support, with a relatively well-received speech by Sir Keir showing no signs of winning over voters
The MPs decided during conference to ‘open lines of communication’ with Tory whips about switching parties.
It came as a new poll suggested Sir Keir had failed to register a conference bounce despite the fuel and energy crises engulfing Mr Johnson.
Labour was down two points on 35 per cent, while the Conservatives were down one on 39 per cent.
Sir Keir’s personal ratings were also almost unmoved on a net score of minus five in the Opinium research.