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Burnham denies attack on Milibands

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has denied that his criticism of the previous administration's "London-centric" elitism was a veiled attack on his rivals David and Ed Miliband.

Mr Burnham used an interview with the Sunday Telegraph to present himself as the "anti-establishment" candidate in the race to succeed Gordon Brown, describing his own policies as "rooted in my experience of life".

And he said that New Labour, at its worst, was "self-indulgent, arrogant, elitist, London-centric... hollow and rootless" in office, adding: "All of that has to change".

He fuelled speculation that his comments were directed at the Miliband brothers - the sons of a leading socialist thinker who grew up in north London and went straight into politics after university - by telling the paper: "I want to help the ordinary kids without connections. The ordinary person does not have well-connected parents."

Despite having worked as a special adviser at Millbank before entering Parliament, Mr Burnham insisted he was never in the "inner sanctum" of the Blair and Brown operations.

And he appeared to be directing a barb at another leadership contender, Ed Balls, by criticising the "self-indulgent factionalism" with which the Blair and Brown camps fought one another and which he said cost the party votes at the May 6 election.

But the shadow health secretary today told Sky News's Sunday Live that he was not making personal attacks on his leadership rivals.

"I making no personal comments about anybody," Mr Burnham said. "My critique is of a style of politics and it goes to the heart of why I'm putting myself forward to lead the Labour Party. I believe we need a clean break from that style of politics.

"When you put yourself forward for the top job, you earn the right to tell some harsh truths to your parry and that is what I am doing.

"I am putting forward a case for a different Labour Party which listens to its members - no more parachuting candidates in from London - a party that values its councillors, where there is a real annual conference with real debates and votes are taken, a change in the culture of the Labour Party."

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