Andy Burnham did not say he was a ‘better politician’ than Keir Starmer

27 September 2022
What was claimed

Andy Burnham said he’s a “better politician” than Keir Starmer.

Our verdict

Mr Burnham did not make this comparison. His comments about being a “better politician” were instead a comparison with his own previous two attempts to contest the Labour leadership.

The Sun has corrected an article claiming that Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said he was “a ‘better politician’ than Keir Starmer”, after being approached by Full Fact.

The article misleadingly characterised Mr Burnham’s comments, which made no reference to the Labour leader.

Mr Burnham’s comment about being a “better politician” was made during an interview on Sky News on 25 September, during which he was asked: “Do you think you might make a better crack at the leadership now than you did last time when you obviously failed to win?”

In response, he said: “I didn't just lose once… as you remember I lost twice so I didn't make a very good crack at all did I? 

“So as I say I've kind of taken a step outside, I think it's been to my benefit, I wouldn't rule out one day going back, as I've said I'm just going to be honest about that, and I probably am a better politician, I think anyway, these days, as I say I'm not kind of caveating everything, I'm not sort of second guessing everything, I'm just calling things as I see them.”

From the context of this exchange it’s clear that rather than comparing himself to Mr Starmer, as The Sun claimed, he was instead comparing his current political abilities with those when he contested the Labour leadership.

The Sun’s claim that Mr Burnham said he was a “better politician” than Mr Starmer appeared in both the article headline and a photo caption, but was not referenced in the body of the article itself, which primarily reported on Mr Burnham response to the government’s recent tax announcements.

Image courtesy of Alamy

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