No 10 claims they expect Andy Burnham to be leader of Labour by 2024

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham arrives to speak the media outside Bridgewater Hall, Mancheste

Downing Street strategists suggest Andy Burnham (pictured above) could be leading the Labour Party into the next election in 2024 - Credit: PA

Downing Street is reportedly preparing for Boris Johnson to fight Andy Burnham at the next general election.

Sir Keir's leadership has been called into question over the past 10 days following a series of poor polling numbers - sparking speculation of a leadership challenge if the numbers do not improve.

Now Downing Street believes that the most likely candidate to succeed Sir Keir in the future is the existing mayor of Greater Manchester.

An insider told Politico: "We have to be prepared for every eventuality and it’s not impossible it’s Burnham rather than Starmer in 2024.

"We have to be ready to face someone else as Labour leader, and Burnham would be a different challenge."

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The Greater Manchester mayor has twice run unsuccessfully to be party leader. He admitted last week that he wanted to run again.

Speaking at a Jewish charity event over the weekend about his desire to still be Labour leader, he said: "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have aspirations.

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"One day, if it became possible, but I'm not sitting here plotting a way to do so.

"I wouldn't say never."

An Ipsos MORI poll earlier this week found the Conservatives have pulled four points ahead of Labour, with 42 percent saying they would vote for the government compared to 38 for Sir Keir's party. However, just 4% said Labour had gotten "worse" under Sir Keir's leadership.

MORE: Green Party becomes third biggest Westminster party in Ipsos Mori poll

Sir Keir has admitted Labour has a "mountain to climb" if it is to have a hope of winning the next general election.

"We've got a long way to go between now and 2024 and we're going to be working hard at this with real determination, every day, every week, every month, every year, into that election in 2024," he said.

The Labour leader added: "The vast majority of our party and our movement are behind what we're doing."

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