Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham rules out standing in West Lancashire by-election

Andy Burnham says he is “very, very likely” to stand for a third term as Greater Manchester mayor, as he ruled out standing in the West Lancashire by-election.

The Labour mayor reaffirmed his commitment to complete a second term in his current position.

Responding to speculation about his political ambitions on BBC Radio Manchester, he said he “firmly believes” party leader Sir Keir Starmer will be the next Labour Prime Minister.

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Andy Burnham

However, the former Leigh MP expressed “frustration” at “constantly” being asked about his leadership aspirations and said he would not be standing in the upcoming West Lancashire by-election, following the resignation of Rosie Cooper.

He said: "In some ways, it's a frustration to me in the job I'm doing constantly to be asked about that. If anyone has listened to what I've said over the years is I'm going to do a full second term as mayor of Greater Manchester.

"I love what I'm doing – not everybody will appreciate that, but I love what I'm doing. My heart is in this job. I'm focused on it.

"Look at what we're doing on transport. I am so focused on it. And it kind of has been an annoyance constantly to be asked about that.

"But I've never changed that script. I've always said I'd do a full second term and I will.

"Maybe this would ruin some people's Thursday morning, but I am very, very likely to stand for a third."

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He was also asked whether he saw not being asked to speak at the Labour Party conference earlier this week as a “snub”.

Mr Burnham said he “tries not to take things personally these days” and pointed out the party conference had not been held in Manchester since he took office in 2017.

Liverpool city region’s mayor Steve Rotherham was invited to speak at the conference, which took place in the city.

He praised Keir Starmer, who has gained a considerable lead in the polls for Labour and has “taken the space that the Tories have vacated” this week.

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He added: "That is a leader who is speaking for the country, for ordinary people. And hence I firmly believe he is going to be the next Prime Minister."