Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has committed to involving Jeremy Corbyn in “rebuilding" the party if he wins the contest.
On the same day the first votes on who will be the next leader of the party were due to be cast, Burnham said he was the only candidate who could overcome Corbyn in the vote.
In a speech at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, Burnham described the leadership race as a contest between himself and Corbyn. He added:
Two candidates have put forward their visions and the party now must decide which way it wants to go.
I have put forward a plan that is both radical and credible, that can unite our party that can speak to the country and lay the foundations for a Labour victory in 2020.
Under the conditions of getting on the Labour party leadership ballot in the first place, Burnham originally urged some of his supporters over to Corbyn in order to widen the contest. In his speech, Burnham has now had to appeal to Corbyn's supporters, praising him for his impact on the contest, while stating he is a credible alternative.
Jeremy has brought energy to this race. I want to capture that and involve Jeremy and his team in rebuilding our party from the bottom up.
I want to show how I can take the best ideas of the other candidates, where there is common ground between us, and use them to shape my radical vision. In that way, we will come out of this contest as a strong and united team ready to take the fight to the Tories.
Corbyn’s support has been growing during the course of the campaign – having entered the race at odds of 100/1, he has progressed to become the bookmakers’ favourite. However, some senior Labour politicians have said they would not serve under Corbyn if he wins.
Burnham's speech comes the day after Gordon Brown appealed to Labour supporters not to vote for Corbyn.