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Posted on: 18/05/2016

Andy Burnham Addresses Loreto Grammar School

Shadow Home Secretary and Hillsborough campaigner Andy Burnham confirmed he was 'giving serious consideration' to standing for the new role of Mayor of Greater Manchester.

The Leigh M.P., who has was runner up to Jeremy Corbyn in last year's labour leadership election was talking to over 150 sixth form students at Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham after answering a personal request from A Level Politics student Julia Morton.

In a wide ranging question and answer to session to politics students from Loreto and St. Ambrose College, other sixth formers and staff, Mr Burnham said: “This country is increasingly divided into the haves and the have nots and the North has been playing second fiddle for far too long. The new role of Mayor of Greater Manchester would give the North a new voice and it is something that I find very interesting.”

Mr Burnham told the students about his marathon battle to support the families of those who died at Hillsborough, a task that has occupied all of his 15 years in Parliament: “There does need to be accountability. Perhaps less so for what caused the tragedy; mistakes happen and no one is saying that the officers on the ground intended what happened; but for the cover up. That was the crime, a calculated attempt to hide the truth which was perpetuated for 27 years.”

Mr Burnham was asked a succession of questions on Brexit and explained his pro-European stance. “Xenophobia is at the heart of the Brexit campaign. After the 1929 Wall Street crash there was a search for a scape goat, which found it most vile form in the vilification of the Jews in Nazis Germany. Now after the fall of Lehman Brothers Bank and the stock market crash which started in 2008 we can see similar problems. Look at Donald Trump and how he regards the Muslims.”

He said: “The older generation, who have their holiday houses in Southern Spain who have enjoyed all the benefits of being in Europe are now trying to pull the plug for your generation. This decision will affect you more than other part of our society and I really believe that the voting age for the referendum should be 16.”

“Look at who is backing the stay campaign, all the leaders of the major institutions, The Bank of England, the IMF, they have done the calculations. This is about peace and prosperity. Winston Churchill set out the case for a United States of Europe in 1946 after the Continent had suffered so much in the Second World War and those arguments have not changed today.

”On his own failure to win the Labour leadership, he said: “I think I was perceived to be part of an old Labour party that was seen as all spin, all P.R. A throw back to the party of the 1990s and they chose Jeremy Corbyn who has been a M.P. For 30 years speaks very candidly about his views.”

He added: “I felt we had some good results, the Mayor of London and the win in Bristol were exceptional results, but I am very worried about Labour losing its grip in the North and that is certainly one of the reason, why I am giving serious consideration to standing for the role of Mayor of Greater Manchester next year.”

Julia Morton, 16, from Sale, who approached Mr Burnham at a netball game, “We have a very politically active Sixth Form at Loreto as they do at St. Ambrose and I knew we would all love to hear his speak. He said he'd be delighted, gave me his email and here he is today. We all thought he was brilliant.”

Ms Millington, Loreto Grammar School's Head of Politics, said: “I was very impressed by the range of complexity of the questions put by the students and the honesty of Mr Burnham's answers. Far from there being a general apathy, I have found that young people are increasingly interested in politics and want to listen to as many opinions as possible and it was wonderful to have such a major figure come and speak.” 

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