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Andy Burnham launches Labour leadership campaign

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has announced he will run for the leadership of the Labour Party.

Mr Burnham launched his campaign via a YouTube video tagged ‘Andy 4 Leader’, with the message promising to ‘rediscover the beating heart of Labour.’

Referring back to Labour’s 1997 election win, Mr Burnham said that the party could not ‘choose one group of voters over another’ but had to appeal to the ‘aspirations of everyone’ in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said the party, which was defeated by a Tory majority in last week’s general election, needs ‘a leader who people can relate to, who understands their lives’.

He added: ‘I am that person. I can unite this country.’

Mr Burnham has emerged as an early frontrunner in the leadership contest, named as second favourite to become the Party’s next leader by leading bookmakers including Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and William Hill last week.

Mr Burnham has been the shadow health secretary for the past five years and was briefly health secretary in Gordon Brown’s cabinet in 2009/10.

He had targeted a return to the health secretary post in last week’s general election, with plans including creating more salaried GP posts and reintroducing the 48-hour GP appointment target.

Liz Kendall, the shadow minister for care and older people, was the first MP to announce her intention to replace Ed Miliband as Labour leader on Sunday.

They will compete against shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper at a leadership election due in September.