BATTLE: Andy Burnham
Asian and black MPs, including Valerie Vaz and Tulip Siddiq, are urging fellow politicians to vote for “true visionary” Andy Burnham in the Labour leadership contest.
Party members received their ballot papers this week to elect the next Labour leader following their crushing defeat in the May election which prompted Ed Miliband’s resignation.
Jeremy Corbyn is currently the favourite to win after scraping onto the ballot with the backing from just 35 MPs, who included him in the process to promote a diverse debate.
In a swift U-turn, almost half of them are now supporting other candidates, suggesting Corbyn could be elected leader with the backing of just 20 of the party’s 232 MPs.
In total 24 MPs, councillors and prominent community members have signed the letter which was sent to BME politicians, calling on them to support Burnham.
The letter claimed that Burnham was the party’s only chance of gaining back power in 2020. It mentioned an interview in Eastern Eye where Burnham slammed David Cameron for claiming the Muslim community “quietly condoned” extremism.
“This election is now a contest between two big visions for the future of our party and our country. We have worked closely with Andy Burnham and have come to know him as a true visionary; someone who is Labour through and through, who can unite our party and win back the support that we’ve lost,” the letter stated.
Fellow candidate Yvette Cooper called on Burnham to quit the race to give her a better chance of defeating Corbyn.