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People attacking Jeremy Corbyn have 'misread the mood of the party', Andy Burnham says

The leadership contender says the left-wing insurgent has improved the Labour leadership contest

Jon Stone
Thursday 13 August 2015 14:25 BST
(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A Labour leadership contender has hit out against attacks by party establishment figures against the race’s frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn.

Andy Burnham said support for Mr Corbyn was a symptom of Labour supporters looking for a more substantial politics than that offered previously.

“The attacks that we’ve seen on Jeremy I think misread the mood of the party. People have said they’re crying out with something different … they want a bigger vision that can inspire and excite them,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

“If we’re just attacking people and making dire warnings I think it is misreading what people are saying. This election needs to bring some change to Labour.”

Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Figures like Alastair Campbell, Yvette Cooper, and Tony Blair have lashed out against Mr Corbyn, accusing him of being unelectable.

Today in a speech Ms Cooper said electing Mr Corbyn would condemn children to growing up under a Conservative government.

“I’m here because I can’t walk away from this party, can’t walk away from the people Labour should be standing for,” she said.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, former prime minister Mr Blair said Mr Corbyn would lead to the end of the Labour party.

Mr Burnham said Mr Corbyn had improved the leadership race, however.

“I’ve said that Jeremy has brought the campaign alike because there is a yearning out there for a different style of politics from Labour,” he said.

“We’ve had this thing: retail politics. Small, gimmicky politics have been served out to different sectors of the population: people want something bigger, that they can believe in.”

He added there would “absolutely not” be a legal challenge against the way the election had been conducted.

Mr Corbyn currently has a huge lead in the polls to replace Ed Miliband at the head of Labour. The other candidates are Mr Burnham, in second place, Ms Cooper in third place and Liz Kendall, in last place.

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