Andy Burnham announces Labour leadership bid

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

After a few days of silence, Andy Burnham has announced his bid to become Labour leader.

He served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport and Health Secretary under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and is currently Shadow Health Secretary.

The MP for Leith he previously ran for Labour leader in 2010, where he finished in fourth place. He was the first of the candidates for that election to come out in support of same-sex marriage, in an interview with a Catholic publication, The Tablet. Mr Burnham is Catholic himself.

However he voted against IVF treatment for lesbian couples.

Announcing his intention to run for leader, Mr Burnham said: “The party that I love has lost its emotional connection with millions of people. The way to get it back can’t possibly be to choose one group of voters above another.

“Labour wins when it speaks to everyone and for the whole country, and it needs a leader whose voice can carry into all the nations and regions of the UK, be heard in every home, be someone who people can relate to, who understands they’re lives.

“I am that person.  I can unite this country.”

Speaking to PinkNews in 2010, he affirmed his support for same-sex marriage, saying: “Throughout my political career, I’ve spoken of the importance of commitment and relationships and I’m also somebody who believes in the absolute equality of every human being and that should be equal in the eyes of the law.”

Two years later, he made a video as part of the Out4Marriage campaign, in which he said: “The traditional side of me is a full believer, a strong believer in marriage.

“But the progressive side of me believes in the innate and true equality of every single human being. And that’s why it follows that I’m a complete supporter of equal marriage.”

In 2014 he spoke about his commitment to tackling HIV, and questioned support for the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood that is still in force in Northern Ireland.

So far, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, and Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for care and older people, have declared their intention to run for Labour leader.