Angela Rayner hasn’t always had the best of relationships with Fleet Street’s finest. But there was no sign of discord tonight when she charmed the cream of the parliamentary press gallery at the women’s lobby drinks.
The Labour deputy leader remarked how ‘I came in [to parliament] in 2015 when the wheels fell off politics, I had about 18 jobs – I’ve still got about 18 jobs’.
She also reflected on the relationship she has with her leader: ‘Keir under-shares, I over-share, always an interesting one to one with me and Keir. We promised each other we wouldn’t disclose what we say in those meetings but we rub along quite nicely’ adding to the inevitable laughs ‘steady on.’
But it was Rayner’s recollections about the Mail on Sunday‘s ‘Basic Instinct’ controversy last April that attracted the most attention in the room. She recalled:
I was away with my boys for the weekend and I sat them both down and said to Charlie and Timmy “Look boys there’s going to be this story about me apparently crossing and uncrossing my legs” and then for the whole of the weekend after that I had to endure Jimmy and Charlie saying to each other “Charlie stop crossing and uncrossing your legs – you’re distracting me.”
The assembled hacks in the room all lapped it up, giving Rayner a rapturous reception. Coming so soon after Keir’s barnstorming speech to the lobby in December, it’s clear that Labour certainly have taken back control of the media narrative.