Who is Angela Rayner, Keir Starmer’s Deputy Prime Minister?

Who is Angela Rayner, Keir Starmer’s Deputy Prime Minister?
Who is Angela Rayner, Keir Starmer’s Deputy Prime Minister?

Angela Rayner was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Housing and Territorial Rebalancing on Friday. She becomes number two in the government, even though she left school as a teenager without a diploma.

With Labour’s victory in the British legislative elections, she becomes one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom. However, nothing predestined Angela Rayner to become number two in Keir Starmer’s government, she who left school as a teenager without a diploma. Angela Rayner was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Housing and Territorial Rebalancing on Friday. In a country where the British ruling class has massively passed through the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, this 44-year-old woman stands out.

She grew up in Stockport, in the north of England, in social housing. From a very young age, she looked after her bipolar, illiterate mother who didn’t work. Her father was mostly away. As a child, the only time she had a hot bath was on Sundays, at her grandmother’s. And to get full meals, she made sure to be invited to friends’ houses. «Angie»as many call her, left school without a degree and, at 16, found herself a single mother. A few years later, she had another child, a very premature baby who is almost blind.

“PhD in “real life””

“I have a PhD in ‘real life'”she sums up. “These challenges have not broken me. I know what my strengths are.”. Angela Rayner is instantly recognizable, with her trademark long red hair and bangs, and her working-class northern English accent. There is also her determined gait, as if nothing could stop her. Since 2020, she has held the second place in the leadership of the Labour Party. Labour’s victory in the general election on Thursday propels her to number two in the government led by Keir Starmer, compared to whom she is much further to the left.

During the campaign, she says she travelled more than 5,000 miles across the UK in the Labour red bus. “You’ll love it! There’s a refrigerator.”she said in the first few days. “Let’s turn the page (on the Conservatives, editor’s note) and rebuild Britain”Angela Rayner hammered home across the country. Politics, however, was something she had never dreamed of. “My only dream when I was a teenager was to learn to drive legally”she told The Rest is Politics podcast. Before adding: “I know how to fix cars, you know.”. After dropping out of school, she worked in social work. It was there that she discovered trade unionism and then politics.


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Elected MP in 2015

In 2015, she was elected MP for the constituency of Ashton-under-Lyne, not far from Manchester. On the Labour benches, she experienced, with her outspokenness, a meteoric rise, first under Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s very left-wing leader until 2020, then under Keir Starmer. She knows that she contrasts with the latter, a former lawyer often considered to be lacking in charisma. “We kind of complement each other”she told the Guardian. “He softens my rough edges. I bring him out of his shell.”. For this left-wing newspaper, Angela Rayner “is abrupt, surly and terrifies conservatives”. “They don’t know how to interact (with me) because they don’t meet people like me often”she believes.

In 2020, a tabloid reported that Conservative MPs were comparing Angela Rayner to Sharon Stone in the film «Basic instinct»claiming she liked to distract the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, by crossing and uncrossing her legs during questions to the Prime Minister in Parliament. These misogynistic attacks caused outrage. Recently, Conservatives have brought Angela Rayner’s past to the surface, accusing her of breaking electoral law over the sale of a house in 2015. But the police, after “a thorough investigation”has decided not to pursue legal action, leaving Angela Rayner free to focus on her priorities in government.

She promises to put an end to the “zero hour contracts” which do not guarantee any minimum paid working hours, to restore the power of unions and to build 1.5 million homes within five years. She wants new social housing, which would be “pretty, green” and in which people would have “want to live”.


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