‘Even my own family felt patronised by Labour’s election campaign’
ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE MP Angela Rayner has confirmed her long-anticipated bid to become deputy leader, warning members that Labour faces a choice: “Win or die.”
In a speech in her home town of Stockport, the former trade unionist launched a searing critique of the party’s performance at the general election, warning it had talked down to voters and sold them a ‘glib’ series of promises they didn’t trust.
Conceding that as a senior member of Jeremy Corbyn’s team she must bear some responsibility for that, she said even members of her own family had felt patronised by the way Labour had pitched its message to them.
But in a speech that often sounded more like a pitch for the leadership than to become deputy, she also said: “I fight to win.”
The shadow education secretary launched her bid at the community centre in Bridgehall, the Stockport estate on which she grew up.
“Seats where we suffered catastrophic defeats were seen as secure, while we tried to fight ‘target’ seats we had effectively already lost,” she said, echoing criticisms expressed privately by many candidates during the campaign itself. “It cannot happen again.”
Of the party’s offer to the electorate, she added: “Too often our policies, though right in principle, were seen as glib promises of free things, ‘retail offers,’ and distrusted as much as any other sales pitch. The electorate did not take up our offer. Time and time again we had people on the doorstep saying they felt patronised, members of my own family very angry with me. I couldn’t go to the pub or go to the school gates without someone wanting to tell me about what they thought we were doing.
“As a party we face a choice: win or die,” she said. “And I fight to win.”
Asked why she was endorsing her friend – Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey – for leader rather than running for leader herself, she said: “It is no secret that for years me and Rebecca have been close friends.
“And I wasn’t going to stand for leader and have everyone in the media and everyone outside saying ‘who’s the better woman’? Because actually me and Becky are two fantastic women.”
Angela Rayner criticised Labour’s election campaign during a speech in Stockport, inset