Thursday News Review

Andy Burnham joins the race

“As Labour debates its future, we must avoid looking like we are disowning our past. Everyone owes a debt of thanks to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But it falls now to my generation to rebuild Labour for new times. Politics has changed. Our job is to reconnect Labour with people who want something different from it. We also must bring back those people who have lost faith with us. I believe I can reach them. That is why I am today asking for the support of my colleagues to go forward as a candidate to lead the party I love and have served for 25 years.” – Andy Burnham, The Mirror

“Andy Burnham will become the fifth Labour MP vying for the leadership of the party when he declares his candidacy today. Writing in the Daily Mirror, the former health secretary will claim to be the candidate who can reconnect Labour with aspirational blue-collar workers. He will formally launch his campaign in his Leigh constituency in the north-west.” – The FT

Andy Burnham will join the race to replace Gordon Brown, saying Labour “had our fingers in our ears and our hands over our eyes” over election issues including immigration. The former health secretary will announce his candidacy at the People’s History Museum in Manchester this afternoon, bringing the number of candidates to five.” – The Guardian

“He will say the ex-PM’s decision to axe the 10p tax rate – which hit the low-paid hardest – sent out the signal that Labour “didn’t care” about ordinary people. Mr Burnham, 40, will also call for a clean break with the Blair/Brown era by claiming the party has lost touch with its core voters.” – The Sun

Diane Abbott enters the fray

“Backbench MP Diane Abbott has joined the race for the Labour leadership. The Londoner told the BBC her bid was “serious”, saying there was little between the other candidates and she would be offering Labour a choice. The 57-year-old Cambridge graduate, who became the UK’s first black woman MP in 1987, said she was getting support from both MPs on the left and women MPs.” – The BBC

“Left-wing Labour MP Diane Abbott announced today she was running for the party leadership, becoming the first woman to enter the race. In a surprise move, Ms Abbott said she was confident of attracting the 33 nominations needed to get her on to the ballot paper.” – The Independent

“Diane Abbott has thrown her hat into the ring, announcing that she will stand for Labour leadership. The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told the BBC‘s Today programme that her bid was “serious”, and would offer Labour a choice, given the similarities between the other candidates. This unexpected addition certainly brings something different to a race which, until now, was populated entirely by white, Oxbridge educated men in their 40s — Ed and David Miliband, Ed Balls, John McDonnell, and Andy Burnham.” – The New Statesman

“Diane Abbott’s announcement that she will stand for Leader of the Labour Party has set off a fire cracker at the heart of a hitherto staid affair. Because of her TV pundit status, and her controversial career, the media will go nuts over her. Only John McDonnell has reason for dismay: she will take Campaign Group MPs’ nominations from him, and probably ensure that neither of them will get onto the ballot paper.” – LabourList

“Ever since it became clear that a Labour leadership race was in the offing, people have been urging me to run. The declared frontrunners are hugely talented, but the danger is that they are “hoovering up” all the nominations and sucking the air out of the contest. This is pivotal moment for the party, and there is a long summer of hustings ahead. And many people believe that we need the broadest range of candidates in the race. Otherwise, many issues that Labour party members (and the public) want to debate will be off the table.” – Diane Abbott, The Guardian

The contest

“Last night, the party was considering demands for candidates to be given more time to raise the support of 33 MPs, which they need if they are to feature officially in the contest. MPs and activists had protested that next Thursday’s 12.30pm deadline would stop candidates such as Mr McDonnell from running. A change of heart now looks possible after Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary and leadership contender, supported the demands. “MPs/members annoyed about short nominations timetable: I have to say I agree,” he wrote on Twitter.” – The Independent

“The three former Cabinet ministers have remarkably similar backgrounds: all studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford in the 1980s and completed their education at Harvard before becoming advisers to Mr Brown or Tony Blair. But Mr Balls hinted that his roots were more provincial than those of the metropolitan Milibands, who have spent recent years “travelling around the world” as Cabinet ministers responsible for foreign affairs and climate change.” – The Times

“It says something about the Labour gene pool that all the serious candidates for the leadership are white Oxbridge-educated men in their forties who were special advisers in 1997. They are, as John McDonnell — the leftwinger who is standing but won’t win — put it “the sons of Blair and sons of Brown”.” – The Times

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