Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham: I want Pope Francis to back gay rights
Labour’s Andy Burnham has said he hopes the Pope and the Catholic Church will back gay rights.
In a column for the Daily Mirror to be published tomorrow, the MP for Leigh will reflect on his Irish heritage, and celebrate the country’s referendum to approve same-sex marriage last week.
He writes that in 2010, he became the first Labour leadership candidate to propose same-sex marriage.
“I did so in the pages of The Tablet – the journal of the UK Catholic congregation – because I thought the Church had got itself on the wrong side of the argument and of history,” he said.
Going on, Mr Burnham will say he hopes to become “the first person of Catholic background to lead the Labour Party,” but that he would not stop “wanting the Church to change.”
He continues to say: “Our new Pope has brought back a forgiving and warm-hearted style that seemed to characterise the Catholic Church in my youth,” saying he hopes the Pope will “bring the Church into the 21st century.”
After a few days of silence, Mr Burnham earlier this month announced his bid to become Labour leader.
He served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport and Health Secretary under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and is currently Shadow Health Secretary.
The MP for Leith he previously ran for Labour leader in 2010, where he finished in fourth place. He was the first of the candidates for that election to come out in support of same-sex marriage, in an interview with a Catholic publication, The Tablet. Mr Burnham is Catholic himself.