Sunday shows: Andy Burnham on policing, Starmer’s job and levelling up

The Andrew Marr Show

Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, said the policing in Greater Manchester is “nowhere near good enough” and said there should be an independent inquiry into the Sarah Everard case. He also denied reports that he is ‘going after’ Keir Starmer’s job.

  • On whether women in Manchester are safe: “It’s nowhere near good enough… We’ve acknowledged that. And it’s why I changed the leadership of Greater Manchester Police.”
  • He added: “I would absolutely want to be held directly to account at the next election for the change in GMP. This is my appointment.”
  • On performance worsening despite more officers: “When I came in as mayor, I made the difficult decision to raise council tax to start recruiting more police officers.”
  • He added: “We have to have wholesale change, culture change, when it comes to violence against women and girls. Any answer that starts ‘women must do this’, ‘women must do that’, starts with men and boys.”
  • On whether there needs to an independent inquiry into the Sarah Everard case: “I would say so, yes.”
  • On whether he is giving Keir Starmer one year to improve as Labour leader, as reported: “That’s patently untrue. I’ve never said that to anybody. In fact I’ve committed to serve a full second term as mayor of Greater Manchester.”
  • On agreeing with the statement ‘Keir Starmer is doing a good job and I, under no circumstances, am going after his job’: “Yeah, I’ll agree with that.”
  • On Michael Gove: “Michael is, I would say, a minister who gets things done. I don’t always agree with him…. He brings intellect to what he does. I don’t think levelling up will remain undefined for long now Michael is in charge of the brief.”
  • On levelling up Greater Manchester: “I’m making a big positive offer to the government. Let us help you define levelling up and let us help you deliver levelling up. In our case, that means a London-style public transport system for Greater Manchester, crucially with London-level fares.”

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said “people should trust the police” and refused to commit to a public inquiry into the Sarah Everard case. He did not offer a short-term solution to shortages, arguing that better pay and conditions were the answer, and he defended the increase in National Insurance.

On policing…

  • “I think people should trust the police. It’s very important that people have trust in the police.”
  • “Rape prosecutions are taking too long and we’re not convicting enough rapists… We should fix the crime side of it, but we also need to look at the whole criminal justice system.”
  • On the Met advice to women: “If you’re suspicious about the way you’re being treated by a police officer, and you’re worried for some reason, then clearly you should seek help in the way you’ve described. But my view is that the police do overwhelmingly a wonderful job. And what I want is I want the public… to trust the police.”
  • “We need to look into all these sharing of WhatsApp stuff by members of the Met. We need to get to the bottom of what has happened.”
  • On a public inquiry: “I think that we do need systemically at not just the Wayne Couzens case but at the whole handling of rape, domestic violence, sexual violence and female complaints about harassment.”
  • On replacing the 25% cut from justice department: “The problem in the justice system is I’m afraid more complex than that.” On ‘money matters’: “I hear that and we’re investing massively in… all aspects of the criminal justice system.”
  • Pressed on a public inquiry again: “We’re looking into the Wayne Couzens case.”

On the HGV crisis and other shortages…

  • “We’re making sure we have the supplementary drivers where necessary.”
  • “The way forward for our country is not just to pull the big lever marked ‘uncontrolled immigration’, and allow in huge numbers of people… What I won’t do is go back to the old failed model of low wages, low skills, supported by uncontrolled immigration.”
  • “The issue of the forecourts is fundamentally one of supply.”
  • “What you need to do is make sure that people now invest in basic equipment, such as truck stops and better pay.”
  • “There’s been shortages in HGV drivers for a very long time. It’s a chronic problem.”
  • On responding to the warning over a shortage of abattoir and butchery workers leading to the culling of pigs: “The great hecatomb of pigs that you describe has actually not yet taken place. Let’s see what happens.”

On wages and taxes…

  • “What you’re seeing is finally growth in wages, after more than ten years of flatlining, what you’re seeing is people on low incomes being paid more.” Marr pointed out that wages are not keeping pace with inflation according to the ONS, but Johnson denied this was the case.
  • On the increase in National Insurance: “The biggest payers of that National Insurance bill are the banks.”
  • “We don’t want to raise more taxes.”
  • On being more like Harold Wilson than Margaret Thatcher on taxes: “You’re talking total nonsense. Neither of those distinguished people had to deal with a pandemic.”
  • On whether he could raise taxes further: “I can tell you, I can tell you you have no fiercer and zealous opponent of unnecessary tax rises than me… We don’t want to raise taxes. But what we will not do is be irresponsible with the public finances.”
  • “If I can possibly avoid it, I do not want to raise taxes again. Neither I do, nor does Rishi Sunak.”

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham criticised the Metropolitan Police’s advice to women this week but declined to call on Cressida Dick to resign.

  • Asked whether Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick should resign: “I don’t have the inside information… I’m not going to pass a knee-jerk view.”
  • He added: “This is the most senior policing position in the land. We have a woman in that role. I would say that should give some confidence that from here a convincing strategy can emerge from the Met – but more broadly, to tackle violence against women and girls.”
  • On the Met: “Some of the statements that came out from the Met over the weekend felt like they were going down the wrong track – you know, women should ‘wave down a bus’. Any answer to this issue that begins with the words ‘women should’ or ‘women must’ is in my view the wrong answer.”
  • He added: “This is an issue that starts with men and boys and that is where attention should go.”
  • On what he is doing on the issue: “I am going to lead personally a high-profile public education campaign in Greater Manchester aimed at men and boys, which will talk about how our behaviour can make women feel when perhaps they’re out late at night, on public transport or walking in a dark street.”
  • Put to him that the approach to tackling violence against women and girls should be the same as terrorism: “If you’re saying there’s a need for a national programme, where this is taken much more seriously, and all police forces in England and Wales are required to make this a high priority, which it would seem the government is currently resisting, then yes I would absolutely say yes to that.”
  • Asked whether he would support an independent inquiry into police vetting procedures: “Yes, in a word, I would. And I also think there needs to be an inquiry into the broader culture within the police forces.”
  • On Michael Gove as the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up: “While I don’t always agree with him, Michael does bring real energy to what he does, intellect, and I would expect that levelling up won’t remain undefined for much longer now Michael is in charge of the brief.”
  • On his message to the government: “Let us help you define levelling up and let us help you deliver levelling up, and in our case that means a London-style public transport system for Greater Manchester. Crucially, with London-level fares.”

Oliver Dowden also appeared on the show this morning. He told viewers that the Metropolitan Police Service “has very serious questions” to answer but that commissioner Cressida Dick should be given time to “sort this out”.

Asked whether Boris Johnson will call an early general election, the minister said the Prime Minister had told him to “make sure that the Conservative Party machine is ready to go for an election whenever it comes”.

Dowden rejected the suggestion that voters might head to the polls in 2023, saying: “Right now, we’re absolutely focused on getting on with the job of making sure that we deliver for the British people.”

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