Angela Rayner: Labour big-hitter who beat the odds

2023-09-04 11:31:44  • 7 mins

By Chas Geiger

BBC News

Angela Rayner's road to the top of British politics has been an unlikely one.

The former care worker had a baby at the age of 16 and left school without any qualifications, told she would not amount to anything.

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

In a reshuffle of his top team, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer gave Ms Rayner the official title of shadow deputy prime minister, and a hefty domestic policy brief covering levelling-up, communities and housing.

She remains Labour's deputy leader, with a party source saying "she will continue to be the strategic lead on Labour's new deal for working people".

  • Tories preparing for opposition, Rayner tells PMQs
  • Rayner relaxed about the rich... if they pay tax
  • MPs hit back at misogyny faced by Rayner

Labour's deputy leader is elected by the party, not appointed by its leader, which gives Ms Rayner a significant level of independence from Sir Keir.

The 43-year-old has a reputation for speaking her mind, and - as a working-class woman from the north of England, who did not go to university - a widely-recognised ability to reach parts of the electorate that might be less accessible to recent Labour leaders closely associated with London.

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