BOROUGH MP Andy Burnham has secured backing from more than 50 colleagues in his leadership bid, Labour Party figures reveal.
The list backing the shadow health secretary includes Wigan’s Lisa Nandy and Makerfield’s Yvonne Fovargue along with Barnsley Central’s Dan Jarvis, who had previously been touted as a leadership contender.
I will take Labour out of the Westminster bubble and will lead a party that people can relate toAndy Burnham MP
Rivals Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall have secured support from 41 and 36 party members, respectively, passing the 35 requirement mark to stand in the leadership race.
Jeremy Corbyn (11) and Mark Creagh, with five, are languishing behind.
The three frontrunners, Mr Burnham, Ms Cooper and Ms Kendall received a hostile reception at a GMB hustings in Dublin this week as they refused to condemn Tory plans for a £23,000 benefits cap.
Mr Burnham said Labour had lost touch with many supporters and was seen as a “Westminster elite”, talking in “political code”.
“I will take Labour out of the Westminster bubble and will lead a party that people can relate to.”
But Mr Burnham and Ms Cooper were heckled by delegates for failing to give a yes or no answer when they were asked if they backed Conservative plans to reduce the cap on household benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 a year.
To cheers, Mr Corbyn was the only one to declare himself opposed, insisting that in the absence of regulated private rents it would result in “social cleansing” in central London.
Mr Burnham said he backed the principle of the cap, he insisted it was “unfair” to expect such a direct answer.
“I am not setting my face against changes to the benefit system but it depends how they do it and I am not going to give you an answer like that to a question that complicated,”
Nominations for the leadership race are open until June 15. The result will be announced on September 12.