Political system open to being 'hacked' and is 'close to being corrupt', Andy Burnham tells LBC

26 September 2022, 20:46 | Updated: 19 October 2022, 11:30

'It gets close, doesn't it? It sails close to the wind'

By Daisy Stephens

The UK's political system is vulnerable to being hacked and is "close" to being corrupt, Andy Burnham has told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr.

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Andrew asked the Labour mayor about a "rather unsettling" report that financial bosses who supported Liz Truss aimed to make a profit over the crash of the pound's value.

He asked: "Do you think that the current system of money sitting alongside the parties at Westminster is corrupt?"

Mr Burnham said: "It gets close, doesn't it?

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"It sails close to the wind."

He said it "gets very murky" because he - like most other people - do not know "what was promised to whom in the leadership election".

"What I do know is the Westminster system leaves itself open to that," he said.

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"I describe it this way, Andrew - if Westminster was a computer system, measures would have been taken by now to stop it being hacked.

"But I think you can hack our political system because of the concentration of too much power in too short, small a space, in too few hands.

"And I think it leaves us all open to vested interest manipulating that system, and manipulating it in their interest, rather than a system that works for all of the country."

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He said the vulnerability of the system was one of the reasons he was in favour of proportional representation - an alternative to First Past The Post (FPTP), which Labour members voted in favour of tonight.

"If you had a proportional system to elect the Commons, that would transfer power, I think, to the Commons over the executive," Mr Burnham said.

"A senate of the nations and regions to replace the Lords, and more devolution of power out of Parliament into the country - a plan to rewire Britain, redistribute power across Britain, make it flow differently.

"And that would be a country that would then work better for everybody everywhere."

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Under FPTP, voters choose from a list of candidates in their local constituency, and whoever gets the most votes is elected as their representative.

It means MPs can be elected int government with less than 50 per cent of votes in their constituency.

Under a PR system, the distribution of seats corresponds more closely with the proportion of total votes cast nationally for each party.

The Greater Manchester mayor told Andrew that FPTP works for the Tories "much better than it works for anybody else" and "has the effect of concentrating power in a very small number of hands".

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He praised party members' "historic decision" to back it when speaking at a New Statesman event on the fringes of the party conference on Monday.

Despite the motions being carried over, there is no guarantee they will be included in the next manifesto as the party is not bound by policy passed at its annual conference.

However it will undoubtedly add more pressure on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who recently insisted the issue is not a priority for him.