Angela rayner

Has Angela Rayner redeemed herself?

10 min listen

With Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer away, Oliver Dowden and Angela Rayner stepped in for PMQs today. Questions quickly turned to the long running row about Rayner’s tax affairs. Did she redeem herself?    Also, the prime minister has announced further UK military spending, confirming it will rise to 2.5% of national income by 2030. Does the move cause problems for Keir Starmer?  Katy Balls speaks to James Heale and Isabel Hardman.  Produced by Megan McElroy.

Is Angela Rayner unsackable?

13 min listen

The row over Angela Rayner’s tax affairs has deepened today. This morning, Greater Manchester police have announced that – following a reassessment of the case – they will open a formal investigation into Angela Rayner. What does this mean for Keir Starmer? And why would it be so difficult for him to sack her?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

How much trouble is Angela Rayner in?

10 min listen

Angela Rayner has faced fresh allegations related to her taxes. Keir Starmer and other MPs in the shadow cabinet have come to her defence. Could these accusations jeopardise her position as shadow deputy Prime Minister? Also on the podcast, what are Richard Tice’s plans for Reform? Natasha Feroze speaks to Katy Balls and James Heale. 

Angela Rayner ally sacked by Starmer

Sam Tarry, who joined today’s picket line at Euston and gave various interviews from there, has been sacked from the Labour shadow transport team and the front bench. However, Tarry has not been sacked for being on the picket line, but for making unauthorised media appearances. Labour’s line is that this isn’t about appearing on a picket line. Members of the frontbench sign up to collective responsibility. That includes media appearances being approved and speaking to agreed frontbench positions.  This morning, Tarry implied that rail workers would not have gone on strike under a Labour government as they would have been offered a more generous pay deal. Given that Tarry


Will Starmer now sack Rayner’s ally?

Labour might be keen to portray themselves as a government-in-waiting but today’s rail strikes show the problems that still remain. Sir Keir Starmer told his party’s MPs that they should not join the industrial action by the RMT yet his shadow transport spokesman Sam Tarry has directly defied his orders to do a round of media interviews from the picketline, in support of the union. He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain today: ‘If we don’t make a stand today, people’s lives could be lost. Some of the lowest-paid workers are on strike today in the rail industry, safety critical workers, workers who make sure our railways get people to work and

Angela Rayner’s working-class myth

In a speech last night to the Institute of Public Policy Research, Angela Rayner revealed that, ‘the reporters for Hansard have a bit of a nightmare sometimes transcribing the way I speak in parliament into their house style. But I don’t compromise on it, because it’s who I am.’ It is, admittedly, refreshing to hear a Labour voice in parliament not adopt the condescending, explaining-very-slowly-to-the-back-of-the-class tone exemplified by Emily Thornberry, or the sorrowful, never-been-so-appalled-by-sheer-Tory-heartlessness-in-all-my-life bleat most notably employed by Ed Miliband. And Rayner has certainly conducted herself with considerably more aplomb at the dispatch box than her party leader, who has the voice of an expiring corncrake. Rayner’s schtick would

The quiet dignity of Angela Rayner

In those gentle days before internet pornography there was a book you could buy which listed the precise moment in each Hollywood film when the sex scene began, or when the leading lady – very often Greta Scacchi – got her kit off, thus enabling one to buy the video, or rent it from Blockbuster, and fast-forward to the, uh, important bit. Apparently the most requested fast-forward was of Sharon Stone in Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct: a film as dumb as pretty much everything else the Dutchman has committed to celluloid, even if his reputation has lately been rehabilitated (for reasons I do not understand). Stone played a bisexual novelist

Portrait of the week: Twitter takeover, late nights for pubs and a row over leg-crossing

Home Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, said Britain assessed that 15,000 Russians had been killed in the war against Ukraine and at least 530 Russian tanks, 530 armoured personnel carriers and 560 infantry fighting vehicles had been lost or captured. Sixty Russian helicopters and fighter jets had also been lost. He told the House of Commons that Britain was sending to Ukraine some Stormer armoured vehicles, with launchers for Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles. Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, called for aircraft to be sent too. In the seven days up to 23 April, 2,207 people had died with coronavirus, bringing total deaths (within 28 days of testing positive) to 173,693. In

Mail hits back at Speaker

After cross-party condemnation and a Commons summons by Lindsay Hoyle, it was only natural that the Mail would hit back over its Angela Rayner story. The Daily Mail has today ridden to the rescue of its sister newspaper the Mail on Sunday, aiming a double-barrelled blast at both the Speaker and Labour’s deputy leader. In a typically strident front page splash, it roars ‘No, Mister Speaker!’ declaring that David Dillon, the editor of the Sunday paper, will not appear before Hoyle to explain a report which suggested Rayner tries to distract Boris Johnson at PMQs, in the manner of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. The Daily Mail claims that three more MPs have now

Speaker goes for the Mail over Rayner

Westminster has been ablaze with indignation. What’s the cause this time – another Downing Street lockdown party? No, on this occasion it’s an article in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday about Angela Rayner. The Deputy Labour leader was accused by an anonymous Tory MP of ‘flashing’ the Prime Minister at PMQs, in the manner of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. The article’s publication prompted a storm of online criticism, with even the Prime Minister feeling it necessary to weigh in and offer Rayner his support. Conservative backbencher Caroline Nokes – the chair of the women and equalities select committee – meanwhile wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask whether the

Rayner grills Raab over Lebedev and Saudi oil

When Angela Rayner faces Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions, it is obvious that both sides rather enjoy the exchanges. When she’s up against Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, as she was today, it feels like more of a grudge match. The session naturally centred around Ukraine, but as is Rayner’s habit, it was more political than previous PMQs. Labour’s deputy made her theme the government’s failure to ensure Britain’s oil security and links to Russian oligarchs. Much of her attack was about flaws in the absent Prime Minister’s own character: the first question was whether Johnson’s comments about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when he was Foreign Secretary had made the situation

What does Angela really make of Boris?

Poor Sir Keir Starmer. He’s having a bad pandemic. The Labour leader was absent again at PMQs. His gifted and charismatic deputy, Angela Rayner, got another chance to display her credentials as his replacement. Rayner, with her necklace of white beads, looked like a duchess launching a battleship. She and Boris flirted constantly, which may not be a good thing. Teasingly he said he knew that she coveted Sir Keir’s job. ‘And I wish her well.’ When she got up she leaned so far across the despatch box that she seemed ready to clamber over it When she got up she leaned so far across the despatch box that she

James Forsyth

Rayner hits Johnson where it hurts

The first PMQs of the year gave us a preview of the political debate we’ll be having for the next few months. Labour went after the government on inflation. Angela Rayner asked Boris Johnson why he had dismissed fears over it as unfounded back in October: Johnson denied he had said it — which is an odd claim given what he said in that interview. She then punched the Tory bruise, by asking why Johnson wasn’t cutting VAT on fuel, as he had said he would do during the EU referendum. Johnson made the point that this help wouldn’t be well targeted, which is true. But the political pressure for this from

Rayner nails Boris at PMQs

Angela Rayner is formidable. Until today, that adjective never suited Labour’s deputy leader. She can be combative, authentic, eye-catching and crowd-pleasing — and quite annoying. Clearly she’s as tough as a vintage Land Rover. But at PMQs, she added statesmanship to her roster of qualities. The session was sparsely attended. The press are in Glasgow covering the Frequent Flyers Summit, aka COP26. Boris came south, by jet of course, to put in a stint at Westminster. He was met by Rayner, soberly dressed and steely-eyed. Her tactics were well prepared in advance. She used feints and misdirection to keep Boris guessing and she varied long rhetorical assaults with punchy killer-blows.

James Forsyth

The Tories give Rayner an open goal

It sums up Keir Starmer’s political luck, or lack thereof, that he was at home with Covid today rather than at PMQs. The Owen Paterson row is an open goal for an opposition leader. The government has decided to whip Tory MPs to vote for an attempt to change the standards ruling. Starmer wasn’t there to exploit it, so Angela Rayner got to take the shot. She hammered the Tories on the ‘one rule for them, another rule for everyone else’ theme. There have clearly been flaws in the way that the standards commissioner conducts her inquiries. But seeking to change the rules right now looks dreadful. It provides Labour with lots of

Which James Bond film made the most money?

Scummy idea Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner called Tories ‘scum’ in a speech to activists at her party’s conference. The word, derived from a 14th-century Dutch word for foam, was first recorded in the sense of an insult in Christopher Marlowe’s play Tamburlaine, written in the late 1580s. Referring to Christian slaves kept by the Turks, Tamburlain says: ‘These are the cruel pirates of Argier, that damned train, the scum of Africa.’ Thereafter, the term tended to be applied to people of low birth rather than people who are of evil or ill intent — which is presumably what Rayner meant. Who’s had jabs? Are western countries hoarding vaccines and

Charles Moore

In defence of Angela Rayner

On the one occasion when I spent any time with Angela Rayner, she was funny, direct and friendly. We were both on the BBC’s Any Questions? in Alan Partridge territory and dined together beforehand with Sir Vince Cable. She got through a whole evening without identifying me, either privately or on air, as one of ‘a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute pile of banana republic, Etonian piece of scum’ (her chosen words at this week’s party conference fringe meeting). True, I am neither a government minister nor a Conservative (in the Lords I sit as ‘non-affiliated’), but she probably felt I was that sort of person. So, now

Douglas Murray

The tactics of victimhood

Late last week the Labour deputy leader was the subject of a glowing profile in the Times. The piece described Angela Rayner’s alleged physical similarity to Nicole Kidman, spoke indulgently of her ‘outspokenness’ and otherwise confirmed my suspicion that most of the people who go into politics should never be allowed near the stuff. Rayner described herself as having ‘thrived’ off the ‘chaos’ of recent years. Apparently ‘the trauma, the screaming, the unpredictability — this is my bread and butter’. She continued: ‘In fact, I think it’s strange when people are nice. I find taking compliments more difficult than taking abuse, to be honest. I’ve never had that love and

Rod Liddle

Labour has gone back to 1983

One day quite soon someone at a petrol pump is going to get a tyre iron wrapped around their head. It will almost certainly be the middle-aged male driver of a Land Rover Discovery — a flatulent showboating car driven almost exclusively by smug pigs — while he is busy filling up his 16 jerry cans with unleaded. It will take place in a city — there’s still quite a bit of petrol left in our towns, because townsfolk are not sociopaths — and the assailant will be a Ukip-voting working-class man in his early thirties called ‘Matt’. With any luck, the jury will acquit. I do not know (and

The trouble with ‘Angiemania’

The most annoying thing about Angela Rayner’s branding of the Tories as ‘scum’ was not that it offended some Tories, though no doubt it did. It wasn’t even the sad story it told us about the calibre of left-wing politicians in the 21st century, who seem more adept at reaching for playground insults than at making a cool, rational case against their opponents. No, it was the implication made by some that Rayner speaks like this because she is working class. That’s what working-class people do, right? They bark the word ‘scum’ at everyone. Such larks! When they aren’t gathered around a piano belting out hilarious songs they’re hanging around