Andy Burnham is riding high at the moment. The latest Ipsos MORI polling on who “has what it takes to be a good PM” had the Mayor of Greater Manchester with better net ratings than either BoJo or Sunak. He was on a net plus 11% with Sunak on a net plus 7% and Johnson on a net plus 2.
Ladbrokes currently have former LAB MP and now Mayor of Greater Manchester as 7/2 favourite for next LAB leader. On Betfair he’s a 23% chance with Angela Rainer on 13%.
There are two big hurdles for him that are seldom mentioned – he’s not an MP and he is of the wrong gender. After the last contest the general view in the party and stated by Starmer himself is that his successor should be female.
The fact is, of course, is that his party has been in opposition for so long at Westminster that very little attention is paid to the party nationally. Where Burnham has an edge is that he is a Labour figure with a very big job in Britain’s second city when it comes to the media. He gets a lot of coverage and is seen as someone who has powers to act – something that the official party leader does not have.
How he would deal with not being an MP is a big one as he would most likely have to relinquish his current job in order to get back to Westminster.
Of course a by-election election could be created in what is seen as a safe seat but that would have many risks. The last thing the party needs at the moment is an unnecessary by-election.
In my view BoJo would find it much more difficult facing a woman across the dispatch box.