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Burnham: northerners face discrimination in London

PA Media logoPA Media 03/07/2019 By David Hughes, PA Political Editor
a man wearing a suit and tie: Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham speaking about devolution and Brexit (PA) © Dominic Lipinski Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham speaking about devolution and Brexit (PA)

Northerners face discrimination in “certain walks of life” in the capital, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham claimed.

The former cabinet minister said people from the North are “different” and faced problems in London.

Mr Burnham, who left the Commons for his role as a regional mayor in 2017, also claimed that Westminster’s model of politics was “deeply dysfunctional” and “poisonous”.

Andy Burnham wearing a suit and tie: Andy Burnham left the ‘poisonous’ atmosphere at Westminster to become mayor of Greater Manchester (PA) © Provided by The Press Association Andy Burnham left the ‘poisonous’ atmosphere at Westminster to become mayor of Greater Manchester (PA)

In an interview for the August edition of British GQ magazine, Mr Burnham said: “I feel that northerners face discrimination in certain walks of life in London.

“How many Labour prime ministers have come from the north of England?

“And, yes, I think that we are different.”

Harold Wilson, from Huddersfield, was the only Labour prime minister born in northern England.

Mr Burnham said Westminster had become “a living nightmare” and suggested the rise of social media was partly to blame.

“The place is antiquated. And basically dysfunctional,” he said.

“Social media changed everything. Before, it managed to run on, like an old clock.

“With social media in parliament, you can’t make sense of it any more.  It can’t agree about anything. It can’t do anything.”

He added: “It’s a bizarre place, with a deeply dysfunctional atmosphere. I don’t miss it in the slightest. It’s just poisonous now.”

Mr Burnham also warned that a second referendum on Brexit should only be used to stop a no-deal exit from the European Union – whereas Labour’s official policy has evolved to say there should be a vote on any deal that emerges from Parliament.

The Greater Manchester mayor said: “As difficult as it is, I think the public interest still lies in doing a moderate Brexit deal.

“Anything else risks divisions that will last for generations.”

The full interview can be seen in the August edition of British GQ, out on July 5.

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