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Burnham hails Manchester 'spirit' as he condemns 'evil act'

Andy Burnham hailed the hundreds of emergency staff who worked through the night. Credit: PA

Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham has said the "spirit of Manchester" will hold the city together as he condemned the Manchester Arena blast as an "evil act".

Mr Burnham paid tribute to "the people of Manchester", saying: "Even in the minutes after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.

"They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us and it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together."

Andy Burnham said Manchester was waking up to the 'most difficult of dawns' after its 'darkest night'.

He also thanked the hundreds of police and ambulance staff who "worked through the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable".

Offering to support the victims and their families, Mr Burnham added: "It is hard to believe what has happened here. These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill."

Andy Burnham elected as Manchester Mayor

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Labour's Andy Burnham has been elected as the first 'metro Mayor' for Greater Manchester.

He took an easy victory, being declared the winner after the first round of voting with more than half of ballots cast for him.

Burnham, a well-known figure in the Labour party running in the party's heartlands, was always expected to win the seat.

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Burnham: Public being kept 'in the dark' over Brexit

Andy Burnham Credit: House of Commmons

The country is "more divided now than ever" following the EU referendum, Andy Burnham has said, adding that part of the reason for this is that the public are being "kept in the dark" over the Government's Brexit plans.

Speaking during a House of Commons Brexit debate, the Labour MP said: "The blame lies not with the public, but with the way Parliament and the Government has responded in the six months since.

"This was a referendum in which the public were issuing a sharp rebuke to the political class which they feel doesn't listen to them and isn't straight with them.

"But what has the Government's response been to this?

"They have been saying they want to keep the citizens of this country in the dark when it comes to their plans for Brexit so as not to give anything away to the other side."

Mr Burnham branded the Government's approach to Brexit so far as "unacceptable" and "a politically inept approach".

Burnham to leave shadow cabinet to focus on mayor race

Andy Burnham made the announcement at Labour's party conference.

Andy Burnham is leaving the shadow cabinet to focus on his campaign to become the next mayor of Greater Manchester.

The shadow home secretary and former leadership contender told the Labour Party conference: "It is time for me to turn my full focus to Greater Manchester.

"That's why I can tell you all first today that I have asked Jeremy to plan a new shadow cabinet without me, although I will of course stay until it is in place.

"I have given my all to this Party and always put its interests above those of factions and personalities. And I have given exactly the same loyalty to all four of the Labour leaders I have served."

The mayoral election will take place in 2017 at the same time as scheduled local elections in May.

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Burnham: I would lead a 'proudly pro-European' party

Andy Burnham has warned against flirting with the idea of a British exit from the European Union and said the Labour party under his leadership would be "proudly pro-European."

Andy Burnham says flirting with EU exit puts people's jobs and future prosperity at risk. Credit: PA

Burham insisted that a British exit would put jobs and the economy at risk, and said it was time to "nail our colours firmly to the mast".

Speaking at a campaign event in Swansea, Mr Burnham said:

"To flirt with exit from the EU is to put people's jobs, communities and future prosperity at risk. This is no time to cut ourselves off from our largest market. It is time to nail our colours firmly to the mast.

"Any Labour Party I lead will be proudly pro-European and will instantly set about the task of securing our membership of the EU."

The warning comes after Mr Corbyn suggested that Labour could hold a special conference before deciding its response to any EU reform package proposed by David Cameron.

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