James Kelly: Why I’m backing Burnham
But Corbyn is favourite
Rutherglen’s Labour MSP has announced he will back Andy Burnham to become the party’s UK leader.
James Kelly MSP reckons the MP for Leigh represents Labour’s best chance of winning the 2020 election.
And he believes frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn MP is not a credible candidate if Labour want to oust the Tories from Downing Street.
Mr Burnham is up against left-winger Corbyn, MP for Leicester West Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper, the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
The bookies currently have Mr Corbyn, who represents Islington North, as the favourite with Mr Burnham in second place.
But Mr Kelly insists the MP for Leigh is the party’s best shot going forward.
He said: “First and foremost, I think the important thing to remember in this contest is that Labour needs a leader that is going to take us back to power and make us electable.
“The point of getting into politics is to make a difference to people’s lives and to do that, you need to be electable.
“I believe the person that gives is the best opportunity to do that is Andy Burnham.”
Many are predicting major splits in the party if Mr Corbyn is elected leader.
Labour are already reeling from May’s general election which saw them lose out to the Tories and be almost completely wiped out in Scotland by the SNP.
The result prompted the resignation of Ed Milliband.
On the prospect of Mr Corbyn becoming leader, the Rutherglen MSP said: “I’ve looked closely at Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign and policies and I’m not convinced the agenda he’s offering is one that will take Labour forward.
“I’ve stressed that it’s important that we elect a leader that’s credible and can go on and gain support from the public and I don’t think the agenda Jeremy Corbyn is pursuing is wide enough.”
The result of the election will be announced on September 12.
Scottish Labour are currently electing a leader of their own, with Mr Kelly backing Kezia Dugdale, who is the overwhelming favourite to take over from Jim Murphy. That result will be announced on August 15.
Race James Kelly is backing Andy Burnham, but Jeremy Corbyn (left) is the favourite