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Andy Burnham to enter Labour leadership race with the worst gay voting record of contenders Staff Writer May 19, 2010
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Former health secretary Andy Burnham is expected to announce his candidacy for the Labour leadership tomorrow.

He has the worst voting record for LGBT rights of the five Labour leadership candidates.

In 2008 he twice voted in favour of amendments that sought to discriminate against lesbian couple’s rights to access IVF treatment. He abstained on three votes relating to the rights of gay couples jointing adopting children.

He will kick-start his campaign with an article in tomorrow’s Daily Mirror, before holding a press conference.

Mr Burnham is expected to highlight his working class background, something that makes him unique among the other four candidates.

Sky News reports he will write in the newspaper: “We will only do a proper job of reconnecting Labour if we change how we work. Labour would have picked up on these things more quickly if we were more connected to our own grassroots,” he will write in the newspaper.

“Labour won’t be heard again until we can show that we understand this sense of unfairness, symbolised for many in the removal of the 10p tax band. It said to low-paid people and pensioners – many women – that we didn’t care or understand what people’s lives were like.”

So far, Ed Balls, David Miliband, Ed Miliband and John McDonnell have declared themselves in the race.

Mr McDonnell, who may not be able to gather sufficient support for his bid, has voted in favour of every gay equality measure, including gay couples adopting and civil partnerships, since becoming an MP in 1997.

Hustings for the leadership will take place in June and July, while voting will not open until August. The new Labour leader will be declared on September 25th at the beginning of the party’s annual conference.

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