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Labour ‘like a gambler that bets everything on winning power at Westminster’ says Manchester Mayor

28 Feb 2021 2 minute read
Andy Burnham. Picture by Rwendland (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Labour is like a gambler that bets everything on winning power at Westminster every five years, according to Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Speaking at a English Labour Network conference, he likened the party to a gambler hoarding money for years and then thinking they could become a millionaire in one night.

Instead, he said, Labour should embrace a system of English devolution that “allows us to build a base around our ideals in the English regions, to bring forward Labour policies”.

He argued that Labour had “got ourselves into a mindset over the years of thinking that the way to advance our ideals is to wait every four or five years and then chance everything on a Westminster election”.

He said that power “hoarded” at Westminster is a barrier to “fairness and equality for all parts of that country”.

“If you run a country where power is hoarded in one place, the reality is that it’s not going to create fairness and equality for all parts of that country,” he said, in comments reported by LabourList.

“That is the reality. We have a political system that I would say is biased against the North.” He said that Labour’s support for centralising power in Westminster was “working against our historic mission to create a more equal country”.

“If the English regions have to go on bended knee to Whitehall to prise out any money out of them – that is the problem,” he argued, adding that the “tyranny of the bidding round with everyone with their begging bowl” must stop.

“We need to demand power out of Westminster to do more for ourselves, have our fate in our own hands, rebuild the regions of the country with the Labour Party at the heart of it – a strong network of Labour cities,” he said. “That’s why I left Westminster.”

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