‘Jeremy Corbyn will lose us councillors and credibility’ says Labour council leader

MK Council leader Pete Marland
MK Council leader Pete Marland

The leader of Milton Keynes Council has backed Andy Burnham in Labour’s leadership race.

Councillor Pete Marland fears that if current favourite Jeremy Corbyn wins, his party will become “irrelevant” to many.

Mr Marland, who took control of MK Council in May last year, said: “I want a Labour Party of principles, but also based on the reality that to have real influence, Labour needs to win in places like MK.

“Like in too many other places, we didn’t win the council seats in Milton Keynes that we needed to win in May. In fact we went backwards.

“We also lost a number of good, hardworking councillors and now have only one more seat than the Conservatives on Milton Keynes Council. Next year we are defending ten councillors in very marginal wards.

“We also lost the two key marginal parliamentary seats heavily.”

Despite this, Mr Marland belives that his party’s recent losses can be turned around by “man of principle” Andy Burnham.

After seeing him speak in MK over the weekend, the council leader has publicly given his support to Mr Burnham.

He will fight for Labour values including affordable, reliable public transport, finding a different approach to social care, allowing councils to build new houses and getting more people onto the housing ladder, claims Mr Marland.

He said: “Now more that ever the county needs a strong, united and credible Labour Party.

“Only Andy Burnham can offer that. He is not only a man of vision, but a man of principle.

“I fear that a Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn will simply not be credible in places like Milton Keynes and we will lose good councillors.

“We will be letting down the people who need us most if we are not credible, and worse, irrelevant to large sections of society.

“I’m backing Mr Burnham to not only be the next leader of the Labour Party, but to be the next Labour Prime Minister.”