Angela Rayner: The great labor hitter who beat the odds

image source, UK Parliament/Palestinian Media

Angela Rayner’s path to the top of British politics was an unlikely one.

The former care worker gave birth to a 16-year-old and left school without any qualifications, telling her she would not amount to anything.

But if Labor wins the next general election, she is sure to be one of the key figures in the new government.

And, in an adjustment to his senior team, the Labor leader, Sir Keir Starmer, bestowed upon Lady Rayner the formal title of Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, and a voluminous synopsis of local politics covering Settlement, Communities and Housing.

She still serves as deputy leader of the Labor Party, with a party source saying she will continue to be the strategic leader for Labour’s New Deal for Workers.

The deputy leader of the Labor Party is elected by the party, not appointed by its leader, giving Mrs Rayner a significant level of independence from Sir Keir.

The 43-year-old has a reputation for being vocal and, as a working-class woman from the north of England, who has not attended university, has a widely acknowledged ability to reach parts of the electorate that might be less important. within reach of the new Labor leaders closely linked to London.

Relations between Sir Keir and Lady Rayner were sometimes strained. After Labor lost control of eight English councils and the seat of Hartlepool in a parliamentary by-election in May 2021, the deputy leader was removed from her position as party leader.

But she backed down and secured new roles as shadow first secretary for foreign affairs, a minister in the shadow cabinet office, and a new role as party spokesperson on the future of work.

Born in Stockport, Greater Manchester, in 1980, Angela Bowen grew up in one of the poorest council areas in the area caring for her mother, who had bipolar disorder and suffered from depression, from an early age.

Mrs. Rainer’s parents were both unemployed. Speaking on the BBC’s “At Lunch With…” in 2017, she recalled that she had to grow up really fast.

She said: “My mother was a really weak person. I remember, when she was 10 years old, my mother had suicidal thoughts and I would sleep like a dog at the end of her bed, just to try to stay by her side so she wouldn’t do anything.” harm to herself.”

She added that her father used to scream a lot, and she and her older brother and younger sister were afraid of him.

video caption,

Angela Rayner: I have a “very frank” relationship with Starmer

She also remembered going to her grandmother’s apartment on Sundays, so the family could take turns bathing there. And hot water was too expensive for them to use at home.

Having given birth to her first son at the age of 16, Mrs. Rayner taught part-time at college, learning British Sign Language and gaining a professional qualification in social care.

She spent a number of years as a care worker in Stockport, mainly caring for the elderly in their homes, while also rising rapidly through the ranks of the union, Unison.

“I was talkative,” she says. “And I will not accept any tampering from management.”

Ms. Rayner, who now has three children, married Unison executive Mark Rayner in 2010. The couple divorced in 2020.

By then, she was already an MP and shadow education minister. She won her seat, Ashton-under-Lyne, for the first time in 2015, and noted in her first speech to the House of Commons that she was the first female MP in the House’s 183-year history.

“soft left”

Like Rishi Sunak, an avid Star Wars fan, she fell foul of the Parliamentary rules early on when she used a House of Commons address note to complain to a shop about the loss of a pair of R2-D2 heels.

But she rose quickly at Westminster, becoming opposition minister and shadow pensions secretary before joining Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, taking charge of women’s, equality and education.

In Homes of Education, she made her mark in supporting early years financing and the idea of ​​a national education service modeled on the NHS. She said she knew what it was like to be left behind.

It has described itself as a socialist, but is also part of the Labor Party’s “soft left”. She voted for incumbent Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham in the 2015 Labor leadership election and has criticized Mr Corbyn’s performance as leader following his resignation.

In Westminster, Rayner shared a flat with another new Northern Labor MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, and sat next to her in the shade cupboard.

When Mr Corbyn stands down in the wake of Labour’s worst general election result since 1935, the friends decide not to fight each other for the leadership. Lady Long-Bailey was defeated by Sir Keir, while Lady Rayner comfortably won the deputyship.

She has described herself as “very hardcore” on law and order, witnessing antisocial behavior when she was growing up.

image source, Getty Images

photo caption,

Angela Rayner has decided to run for Deputy Labor leadership position rather than the top position in 2020

She said Labor wanted people to “create wealth”, echoing famous remarks made by former government minister Lord Mandelson.

Abuse and misogyny

She said she “doesn’t have a particularly strong view either way” on Brexit. She campaigned and voted to remain in the European Union during the 2016 referendum, but later opposed Labor’s shift to a policy of holding a second referendum, arguing that it would “undermine democracy”.

Ms Rayner has an MP’s salary of £86,584 and has declared additional income, gifts and donations of £16,050 in the Register of Financial Interests for 2022-2023.

As a prominent woman, Ms. Rainer has suffered a lot of abuse online. In 2019, panic alarms were installed in her family’s home after death threats were received.

She initially stood by the statement, saying she would apologize when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized for his earlier offensive comments. Sir Keir told the BBC: “Angela and I take different approaches, and that’s not the language I would have used,” adding that it was up to her to decide whether or not to apologize.

In a social media post, Ms Rainer said she had thought about “our political debate” and “the abuse that now seems to come up more often” and in the future she would be “more careful” about her language.

In April 2022 she was at the center of further controversy, this time with support across partisan lines, when the Mail on Sunday newspaper published a claim that she had tried to distract Johnson in the House of Commons by crossing her legs.

The newspaper said the claim was made by a number of Conservative MPs. But the story was met with widespread condemnation, including from many provinces.

The prime minister said he deplored the “anonymous misogyny directed at her”. Ms Rainer dismissed the report as a “perverted smear” that shows women in politics face misogyny every day.

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