Angela Rayner says Labour must 'win or die' at the next election

6 January 2020, 16:20

Angela Rayner has announced her bid to become deputy leader
Angela Rayner has announced her bid to become deputy leader. Picture: PA

Shadow Eduction secretary Angela Rayner has announced that she will be fighting it out to become Labour's deputy leader, and said the party will have to "win or die" at the next election.

Ms Rayner also said Labour needs to "draw a line in the sand" over the issue of anti-Semitism within the party in order to "regain the moral authority" and unite the country against racism.

She also said the party needs to "educate where there is ignorance and remove bigotry wherever it is found".

Ms Rayner is now the fourth Labour MP to declare her intention to run, following on from Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Khalid Mahmood.

Her speech focused on Labour's heavy defeat in the December general election, saying the party will have to "win or die".

It comes after Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry all entered the race to be party leader.

Ms Rayner however confirmed that she would be backing her friend Rebecca Long-Bailey for the leadership if she confirms her intention to stand.

She said she "took offence" on behalf of her "good friend" Mrs Long-Bailey being described as the "continuity Corbyn" candidate.

"She is her own woman and she will say what she stands for. She isn't Corbynism, she isn't Blairism, she isn't Brownism," she said.

"She is Rebecca Long-Bailey and people should give her the chance to outline what that means for her and her leadership campaign.

"I think, you know, often us women in politics, I'm going to say it, get a much harder time than men when we come out."

After the speech, Ms Long-Bailey tweeted: "Great to see my good friend Angela Rayner launch her campaign for Deputy Leader.

"A committed trade unionist and fighter for equality, she’s got my full support."

During her speech in Stockport, Ms Rayner said Labour was now left with "the biggest challenge in our history" after December's election defeat.

She held the event at a community centre on the council estate where she lived as a pregnant 16-year-old school leaver with no qualifications.

Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Rayner are political allies
Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Rayner are political allies. Picture: PA

Ms Rayner called for the party to "rethink and renew our purpose" and highlighted how seats that had gone from "heartlands to battlegrounds" where people have felt Labour had "lost touch with them".

She also said the party needed to build a new coalition of voters.

"We must rethink and renew our purpose and how we convince the people to share it," she said.

"Either we face up to these new times or we become irrelevant.

"As a party we face a choice: win or die. And I fight to win."

Despite her own working class background, she said her own party had been "patronising" to many of its own supporters for too long.

She continued: "I talk about my background because for too long I felt I wasn't good enough; I felt ashamed of who I was. It took me time for that shame to turn into pride.

"Because I remember when I first spoke from the front bench in the House of Commons, a parliamentary sketch writer said I must have got lost from the set of Little Britain.

"It was another way of saying I didn't know my place.

"Maybe I don't.

"But I know the place I came from. It's here. Not Little Britain. Real Britain."