Andy Burnham fights back in Labour leader race with 'help for everyone' pledge


Andy Burnham will move to regain the initiative in the Labour leadership contest today by publishing a manifesto promising Labour can become the party which "helps everyone get on in life". 

The shadow health secretary, who is the bookies' favourite to succeed Ed Miliband despite a dramatic rise in support for left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, is to outline five pledges aimed at offering "something for people in every postcode".

His proposals include a graduate tax to replace tuition fees, extending the so-called "national living wage" to workers of all ages and guaranteeing everyone can rent or own an "affordable home".

He will also reiterate his desire to link social care with the NHS and provide "good care for all your needs from cradle to grave", with patients not forced to sell their home to pay for care.

Unpaid internships would be banned along with forced zero-hours contracts, while people wanting to become apprentices would go through an application system similar to universities and receive financial support should Mr Burnham lead a Labour government.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn is due to speak in London at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

The Islington North MP, who has sparked widespread surprise with his surging campaign, returns to the capital following another large rally on Wednesday night. Mr Corbyn addressed a crowd of around 700 in West Belfast on his latest campaign stop.

Mr Corbyn will use the memorial event to spell out a policy to create a Defence Diversification Agency should he become the Prime Minister. The DDA would be tasked with redeploying defence workers and diversifying their skills.

The plan is the latest announcement related to Mr Corbyn's Vision For Britain 2020 ambitions.

The latest salvoes in the leadership campaign come as research showed anti-austerity policies are a vote loser and Labour's defeat at the general election was caused by a failure to persuade the public it could be trusted to tackle the deficit.

An independent review, led by the party's former policy chief Jon Cruddas, found that "the Tories didn't win despite austerity, they won because of it" and warned that Labour could not ignore the views of the public.

A separate opinion poll showed Mr Burnham is the clear favourite among Labour voters.

The Opinium poll found that among Labour voters, rather than just party members, Mr Burnham was on 39%, 15 points clear of Mr Corbyn, with Yvette Cooper on 22% and Liz Kendall on 15%.