Andy Burnham Lists UK's 'Pattern' Of Crises In Damning Rant Against 'Unelected State'

The Labour mayor called for a major change in the wake of the infected blood scandal.
Andy Burnham speaking to BBC Breakfast on Tuesday
Andy Burnham speaking to BBC Breakfast on Tuesday
BBC Breakfast

Labour’s Andy Burnham provided a brutal reality check to the UK’s “unelected state” by listing all of the scandals which have been swept under the rug over the decades.

PM Rishi Sunak finally apologised for the successive governments’ mistakes in the Infected Blood scandal yesterday in the Commons, decades after victims were first infected with Hepatitis and HIV.

But, the mayor of Greater Manchester wants further action and called for all public servants to be held accountable.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve just got a pattern here haven’t we?

“We’ve got Hillsborough, we’ve got Grenfell, we’ve got Post Office, we’ve got Windrush, we’ve got contaminated blood – one that’s not been dealt with yet, nuclear test veterans.

“This is a pattern that keeps on repeating. I think the unelected state in Britain has too much power. It’s too easy to cover up.”

Burnham said all public servants should “tell the truth at the first time of asking” in a Statutory Duty of Candour.

He claimed that was the “only way we can break this pattern that keeps on repeating”.

In his final Commons speech as an MP in 2017, Burnham described the infected blood scandal as a “criminal cover-up on an industrial scale” – a claim he has repeated this week.

He also told Channel 4 News last night that he pins a lot of the responsibility on the Treasury in particular.

Burnham claimed: “They have had a grip on this issue, that no statements admitting liability could be made by anybody, because that was the view of the British state from the start – that the fear of financial exposure couldn’t be allowed to be opened up.

“That was the grip they put on this from the start. I think that explains why the line never changed over the years.”

He added: “Whitehall should be rocked to its core – we need major reform with how this country is run.”

Sunak’s apology yesterday pinned the responsibility on both civil servants and ministers.

He said: “This is a day of shame for the British state. Today’s report shows a decades-long moral failure at the heart of our national life.

“From the National Health Service to the civil service, to ministers in successive governments, at every level, the people and institutions in which we place our trust, failed in the most harrowing and devastating way.”

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