Tuesday 18 August 2015 10:23 am

Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham pledge to work together while Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham tell each other to withdraw from the contest

Is there a bromance blossoming among Labour leadership candidates? After Andy Burnham used a speech to praise Jeremy Corbyn and offer him a role in "rebuilding" the party, Corbyn has said he could work with Burnham, too.

Speaking to BBC's Newsnight, Corbyn said: “Obviously there has to be a party of all the talents and of course, we can work together, and that is an easy thing to do."


Read more: Andy Burnham pledges to involve Jeremy Corbyn in "rebuilding" the party if he becomes Labour leader

But alas, some candidates would rather stir up trouble: Yvette Cooper’s campaign has said Burnham should "step aside" if he won’t challenge Corbyn.

A spokesperson for her campaign said:

If he isn't prepared to offer an alternative to Jeremy, he needs to step back and leave it to Yvette.

And he should do the right thing by the party and tell people who do still support him to put second preferences for Yvette – something he is still refusing to do.

The Burnham camp did not take this well, with the Telegraph citing a source in Burnham's camp saying: "Yvette's stunt is panicked, desperate and straight out of the Ed Balls handbook." Cooper is married to Ed Balls, the former shadow chancellor. Ouch.

The escalation in tension between candidates comes after Cooper said she had no part in talks with Peter Mandelson about trying to cancel the Labour leadership race, as rumours emerged of a plot to prevent Corbyn from becoming leader.

While Corbyn and Burnham have said they would both work together after the result, Cooper and Liz Kendall have already ruled out working under Corbyn.

Other senior Labour MPs have also vowed to step down from the shadow cabinet if Corbyn wins, including shadow chancellor Chris Leslie and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.

Read more: Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie confirms he would not serve under Jeremy Corbyn

As current MPs are drawing dividing lines, former prominent Labour politicians have also warned against voting for Corbyn, with David Miliband, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock all wading in. 

The rise in tension adds fuel to Cooper’s previous warning the Labour party could split if Corbyn wins the leadership.

Adding to talk of splitting the party, Burnham told the Today programme some factions of the party are "circling the wagon" of Corbyn's campaign and risk dividing the party.