Angela Rayner says she brings ‘freshness’ to Labour after planning to oust Keir Starmer

Angela Rayner grilled on ‘departure’ of Labour members

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The party’s deputy leader has described her relationship with her boss as like “an arranged marriage” after being elected to the position last spring. Sir Keir and Ms Rayner were elected separately in April 2020, being forced by the party membership to work together.

Since then there have been repeated clashes between the two teams.

In May when Sir Keir attempted to oust his deputy from Labour’s top team.

Following the loss of the Hartlepool by-election, Ms Rayner was sacked as party chairwoman in a bid by Sir Keir to shift blame for the defeat.

The move backfired, with Ms Rayner being given overwhelming support from Labour MPs, and Sir Keir U-turning by offering the Ashton-under-Lyne MP an even more prominent role.

Since then there has been repeated speculation Ms Rayner is canvassing support from MPs for a potential challenge for the top job.

“Me and Keir have been working incredibly closely together since the start of the pandemic,” she told The Guardian as she shrugged off claims of frictions.

“We bring different things to that leadership.

“And I think that works.”

Talking about her own qualities, she said she believes her relaxed attitude to saying what she thinks means she connects more with people across the country.

“You know, my style is more robust as people know: I’m more bombastic, in the way in which do things,” she said.

“I say it how I see it and therefore I bring that freshness to the partnership.”

On Sir Keir, Ms Rayner said the Labour leader was “passionate” about improving society.

The MP said: “Keir’s very forensic, he’s very intelligent.

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“He’s very passionate about making sure that the country is a better place.”

Ms Rayner is thought to not be planning any imminent challenge, but is preparing herself for if Sir Keir fails to improve his position in the polls.

Sir Keir is under pressure from his own backbenchers after struggling to cut through with voters.

A poll last month found nearly six in 10 believe the Labour leader is going a “bad job”.

The Ipsos MORI survey found 59 percent of Britons think he has done a “bad job” at setting out a clear alternative to the Government.

Just 18 percent said he was doing a “good job”.

Some 34 percent of the 1,053 adults surveyed between July 2-8 said he should be replaced before the next election.

The next general election will take place in 2024 at the latest.

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