Sunday News Review

Manchester #hustings

Mr Burnham, who was Health Secretary, Culture Secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury during his time in government, argues that Labour will only make itself electable again if it ditches the “hollow” elements of the Blair-Brown years. “We need to keep the best of New Labour and ditch some of the hollowness of it, it looked hollow and rootless at times.” Asked what he would do to counter this, he says he would ban the practise of parachuting candidates into safe seats for a start: No more “favourite sons or daughters. No more fixing shortlists at national level. This is where the style of politics really cost us electorally.” – The Telegraph

David Miliband has warned Labour could be out of power for years as he made his bid for the party leadership at the final hustings before September’s vote. The front-runner in the race to replace Gordon Brown went head-to-head with his brother Ed, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott in a question-and-answer session for 600 party members in Manchester. The former foreign secretary told the audience that each time Labour had been thrown out of government they had stayed in opposition for between 14 and 18 years. “We could be out of power for a long time; history tells us we will,” he said. “I want to buck that trend.” – The Sunday Herald

The former foreign secretary spoke out in a question-and-answer session with all five candidates in Manchester. He reminded the 600-strong audience of Labour’s previous long periods in opposition following election defeats. “We could be out of power for a long time, history tells us we will. I want to buck that trend,” he said. “This is a time to be serious,” said Mr Miliband, the MP for South Shields. – The BBC

The contenders

The odds on Labour leadership favourite David Miliband shortened to 4/9 yesterday – the day of the final contenders’ debate. Bookies William Hill put brother Ed at 15/8, and Ed Balls at 16/1. Fourth-placed Andy Burnham won the biggest cheer at the Manchester hustings, saying: “We can’t have the people’s party run by the chattering classes.” Wildcard entry Diane Abbott won applause for vowing to scrap Trident. – The Mirror

Burnham defends NHS

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham yesterday blasted ConDem plans to shake up the health service – warning: “It’s the end of the NHS as we know it.” The Labour leadership hopeful spoke out as he launched the party’s “Defend Our NHS” campaign at a rally in Manchester, attended by hundreds of patients, doctors and nurses. He said: “It’s a recipe for a postcode lottery and signals the end of the NHS.” – The Mirror

The reform White Paper, launched by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, promises to scrap unjustified targets, give patients more choice and cut bureaucratic control. GPs will be given more power while strategic health authorities and primary care trusts (PCTs) will be phased out. But Mr Burnham said spending billions on the reorganisation was “unnecessary and dangerous” and would be better put towards essential care. – Sky

What next?

Sadly, Diane Abbott came over terribly: either shouting in a high-pitched tone that she didn’t need military equipment to feel good (unlike the men, do you see?) or getting weirdly twee. When Derbyshire asked if she preferred TV to politics, Abbott replied: “I prefer my son” (who’s 18). If you’re aiming to be the leader of a political party, that is a truly rubbish answer. Hey-ho. The Labour party will have to make do with whichever plausible, lad-lite Blair-boy comes out on top. From this debate, I’d say Burnham, though there’s little to choose. – The Guardian

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