Angela Rayner now in ‘STRONGER’ position as Starmer’s ‘botched’ demotion attempt backfires | UK | News
Angela Rayner leadership potential weighed up by Labour MP
A number of Labour members on the party’s left voiced outraged in the wake of Ms Rayner being sacked as party chair and campaigns coordinator. Figures like former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott claimed Sir Keir was attempting to make Ms Rayner “carry the can” for the disastrous local election results in England. She was instead moved to Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and will fill the new role of the Shadow Secretary for the Future of Work, on top of maintaining her elected deputy post.
Some framed the move as a promotion, arguing that it proved Sir Keir wanted Ms Rayner to have more influence in the party.
Others claim it is the beginning of his plans to move the party to a more centrist position.
Richard Wyn Jones, a political scientist, said it was as a “botched attempt” at demoting Ms Rayner, inadvertently boosting her position in the party and among the Corbynite left.
He told Express.co.uk: “The perception would be that there was an attempt to demote her and that ended up backfiring.
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“Her position is probably, at least in the short to medium term, strengthened as a result.
“And it looks as if it has left Starmer substantially weakened, again, at least in the short to medium term.”
When asked whether he believed there was a feud between Sir Keir and Ms Rayner, Mr Wyn Jones said: “Yes. There is this almost unceasing battle within the Labour Party between left and right, and the dramatis personae changes regularly.
“There is an unceasing tension within Labour and what seems to be giving it added spice is that a lot of people on the soft left supported Starmer thinking he would bring more discipline and more order but retain some of the policies they thought were best; some of the things they associated with Corbyn but to get rid of the chaos and the stuff they disapproved of.
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“But now, rightly or wrongly, people feel they’ve been betrayed by Starmer, so it’s an extra element in this unending conflict within Labour.”
John McDonnell, the former Shadow Chancellor, has been one of the most vocal Labour figures to condemn Sir Keir’s distancing from Jeremy Corbyn’s policies.
In the aftermath of May’s local elections, he urged the Labour leader to readopt Mr Corbyn’s radical policy sheet, claiming it was the only way to win back the electorate.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “What I’ve been saying to him is you need to demonstrate to people the sort of society you want to create, the policy programme that will achieve that society and you need to get back to that real grassroots campaigning.
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“We must never again send our candidates into an election campaign almost naked without a policy programme, without a key view on the sort of society we want to create.”
He has since shared videos of Sir Keir on Twitter pledging to retain Mr Corbyn’s policies in previous speeches.
On being elected leader in April last year, Sir Keir said he was committed to keeping most of the plans contained in the party’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos.
This included things like scrapping tuition fees and nationalising the railways.
Separately, in his “Ten Pledges” published ahead of being elected, he set out many of the things Mr Corbyn had promised in the years before.
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To date, he has backtracked on at least two of these.
This week, he said Labour will have a completely new blueprint for power not based on Mr Corbyn and Tony Blair’s manifestos.
Many have responded to Mr McDonnell, Ms Abbot and Richard Burgon’s calls to revert back to the Corbyn years as a “betrayal” of Labour and its voters.
Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, said the continued rhetoric is plunging the party into further disrepair.
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He told Express.co.uk: “There are large elements of the Labour movement who are more interested in feeding their purist ideology than making the compromises that are necessary to win power.
“Particularly now with the radical left whose presence is much more prominent in the party since Corbyn, it strikes me that some of them would rather be able to say, ‘I haven’t compromised, I’ve stuck true to my ideal, my radical ideology’ even if that means Labour is not going to win power.
“Actually, that’s a betrayal because if you’re serious about winning power, if you’re serious about changing the country, you’ve got to make difficult decisions, to articulate policies and principles that are in touch with millions of ordinary people.”