Stop belittling Angela Rayner with comments about her clothes and background - her rise is a triumph

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There was great pride in one corner of Greater Manchester at seeing one of their own rise to the corridors of power. 

The Bridgehall estate in Stockport, which also takes some credit for Phil Foden’s ascension, is where Angela Rayner grew up - and is a world away from sitting at the cabinet table as the Deputy Prime Minister in the new Labour Government. But after a remarkable General Election, it is where the Ashton MP finds herself nine years on from joining the House of Commons. 

She’s not the only female representative from the region either - Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell is the new Leader of the House of Commons with her Wigan counterpart Lisa Nandy named secretary of state for culture, media and sport. They even attended the same school, Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury.

 

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Angela Rayner leaves 10 Downing Street after being named Britain's deputy prime ministerAngela Rayner leaves 10 Downing Street after being named Britain's deputy prime minister
Angela Rayner leaves 10 Downing Street after being named Britain's deputy prime minister | AFP via Getty Images

In that same cabinet Rachel Reeves is the first female chancellor, but quite rightly several have made the point already that the little slice of history has nothing to do with why she’s been tasked with running our economy - it’s because she is the best person for that job. 

Ditto Rayner, deputy Labour leader for some time now, she has been primed for this position in opposition and has also taken up the brief of levelling up, housing and communities - her background making her a perfect fit.  Her story is undoubtedly one of triumph. A mum at 16 from a council estate in a deprived part of northern England - ‘people like her’ aren’t supposed to get ‘jobs like that’. 

You’d hope in 2024 that attitudes have moved on but sadly we all know that’s not completely the case. We ran pictures of Rayner confidently striding into 10 Downing Street on Friday and the comments were crushingly predictable. 

There was thankfully a healthy dose of local pride, but then came the derogatory ones about what she was wearing - a green suit, not that it matters. Would we comment on what a male member of the Government was wearing? Of course we wouldn’t.

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Angela Rayner arrives at the first meeting of Labour's new cabinetAngela Rayner arrives at the first meeting of Labour's new cabinet
Angela Rayner arrives at the first meeting of Labour's new cabinet | AFP via Getty Images

They got even worse though with comments I won’t dignify by repeating here about the fact she was a mum at 16 and by consequence, a grandmother aged 37. You can imagine the tone and the horrific language used. 

I hear the people saying there’s no point arguing with those found lurking in the comments sections of certain websites. But this is a woman who was accused of trying to distract Boris Johnson by the way she crossed and uncrossed her legs in the House of Commons. Nonsense of course, but mud sticks, and maybe it’s still in the mind of some. 

Now I’m just waiting for the comments to flood in about her accent when her commitments as Deputy PM start in earnest. Here’s hoping this continues to be nothing more than a noisy minority.

As one of the most powerful people in the country her every move will be judged. But where we can, let’s stick to what she's been elected to do. She’s there on merit and now has the chance to help change the lives of millions. And that, at the end of the day, is all that matters.

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