At least Andy Burnham is keeping us all on his toes with his leadership campaign. If you’d stopped paying attention to the Labour leadership election for a couple of hours, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Shadow Health Secretary thinks it is a bad idea to attack Jeremy Corbyn. This is what he had to say on the matter yesterday:
‘I would say the attacks we’ve seen on Jeremy I think misread the mood of the party because what people are saying is they’re crying out for something different, they are fed up with the way politics has been, particularly the way Labour has been conducting politics in recent times. They want a bigger vision that can inspire and excite them, they want something more to sell on the doorstep at election time, and that’s what I’ve offered…my manifesto is dropping through letterboxes today, it’s a radical vision for the future of the party and the country but crucially it’s got credibility at its heart, I’m saying how I’m going to pay for everything.’
So Andy Burnham doesn’t think it’s worth attacking Jeremy Corbyn. But keep up there at the back - this is what he had to say today:
‘Jeremy’s plans lack credibility. It’s not possible to promise free university education, renationalising the utilities without that coming at a great cost and if you can’t explain how that is going to be paid for, then I don’t think we’ll win back the trust of voters on the economy, so there is a real choice here, there’s two big visions being put forward for Labour here, mine has credibility at its heart and I believe that is essential if Labour is to win the next general election.’
‘My critique is that his plans lack financial and economic credibility… This isn’t about going negative…’
Burnham is entirely right to contrast his plans with Corbyn’s. He described his plan as having 'credibility at its heart' in both interviews. What he is less clear about is the sort of attack he doesn’t like. Cooper has attacked Corbyn on policy grounds, and Burnham appeared to be saying yesterday that he disagreed with that attack. Is this another flip-flop from Burnham on this campaign strategy?
Listen to Burnham's change of tune here: