Isabel Hardman

Andy Burnham pinpoints Labour’s problem

Andy Burnham pinpoints Labour’s problem
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Labour is very cross about a knighthood going to the man who ran the election campaign that beat the party in May. Andy Burnham issued a statement about Lynton Crosby’s inclusion in the New Year’s Honours list which was supposed to highlight what his party thinks is an abuse of the system. But really, it just highlights his party’s own failings. The Shadow Home Secretary said:

‘This outrageous award is the clearest evidence yet that the Tories think they can get away with whatever they like. It is a timely reminder that Labour must make it a New Year’s resolution to stop facing inwards and expose them for what they are.’

Why do the Tories think they can get away with whatever they like? Because Labour is riven with internal splits and rumours of a ‘revenge reshuffle’. Jeremy Corbyn has his own opposition to deal with before he can think about offering a credible opposition to the Tories. That’s why Burnham says his party must resolve to ‘stop facing inwards’: because currently it is letting the Tories get away with whatever they like.

Incidentally, things would have been even harder for Labour had it not been for the work of chief whip Rosie Winterton, whose damehood today is being applauded rather pointedly by MPs who don’t want Corbyn to sack her. Her citation for the honour includes the line ‘as Opposition Chief Whip, she has helped steer the Party through the difficult period following its last election defeat’. On a day when the debate is all about who does and doesn’t deserve an honour, here is one that truly falls into the definition of going beyond the call of duty.