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  1. ITV Report

Mixed response at Labour hustings for leadership front-runner Andy Burnham

Leigh MP and Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham. Photo: Press Association.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham has won the support of 53 Labour MPs for his bid to become leader of the party.

He's the front runner to take over the leadership after Ed Miliband quit following the party's disastrous results in last month's General Election.

The figures were revealed as the shadow Health Secretary was jeered during the first hustings at a trade union conference when he refused to say outright whether he was opposed to an annual benefits cap of £23,000.

According to the Guardian, Mr Burnham said the issue was complex and could not be answered with the simple yes or no sought by the chair of the proceedings on Tuesday, the Daily Mirror journalist Kevin Maguire.

Mr Burnham also he said the price of a litre of petrol was £1.60 when it is closer to £1.16.

Labour leadership contenders Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall. Credit: Press Association.

But Mr Burnham won warm applause when he said Labour had made a mistake by sharing a platform with the Tories during the Scottish referendum campaign, an error he said he would not allow the party to repeat in the EU referendum.

Labour's leadership contenders need the support of 15% of MPs to secure a place on the ballot paper for September's election.

Rivals Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall have also exceeded the threshold of 35 nominations needed to get on to the ballot paper with 41 and 36 each.

More than a third of Labour's 232 MPs have yet to declare their preference.