Ashton-Under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner has today announced her candidacy for the position of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.
In a speech at Bridgehall Community Centre, Stockport, close to where she grew up, she spoke to gathered members of her party, the press and supporters about her vision for the future of Labour. She also announced her backing of close, personal friend Rebecca Long-Bailey, for leader.
She said: “We can’t afford to hide from the scale of this defeat or its lessons. We have now lost four elections in a row.
“Our coalition, the foundation of our party, is broken.
“A few new policies will not put things right. The quick fix of a new individual as a leader will not be enough. We must rethink and renew our purpose and how we convince people to share it.”
She was joined at her launch by fellow Tameside politicians. Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds was there to show his support, whilst Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne also threw his support behind her on social media. Councillor Denise Ward and Honorary Vice President of the British Medical Association Dr Kailash Chand OBE were also in attendance.
Rayner went on to say: “I don’t pretend that I have all the answers. That is the point of being a collectivist. That by the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we do alone. It is why I want the leadership of our party to be a team effort. I will be quite straightforward: I will be voting for my friend Rebecca Long-Bailey if she stands for the leadership.”
Following a disastrous 2019 General Election, Labour need to win 123 seats for a majority of one, a challenge that the Ashton MP says she wont shy away from.
“Where I come from, people believed the government would look out for them and it hasn’t. They were told if they worked hard they would share in the rewards of our growth. That was a lie.
“By the time we next fight an election, we will have left the EU. Leave or Remain will no longer be the question. And we can play our part in ensuring those labels are no longer the dividing line in our country.”
She also made a strong statement about antisemitism in the Labour party, saying: “There are also lines beyond which there is no dialogue and no compromise possible. And the first line in the sand is anti-Semitism. Cross that line and you’re out. Apologies are worthless without action. We need to make clear now that we will take that action. To educate where there is ignorance and to quickly remove bigotry wherever it is found.”
The contest to elect a new leader and deputy formerly begins tomorrow [Tuesday 7 January] and will run until 4 April. Those who join the party or become affiliated supporters before 20 January will be eligible to vote.