Angela Rayner

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Angela Rayner

Official portrait of Angela Rayner MP crop 2.jpg
Rayner in 2019
Shadow First Secretary of State
Assumed office
9 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byEmily Thornberry
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Assumed office
4 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byTom Watson (2019)
Chairwoman of the Labour Party
Labour Party National Campaign Coordinator
Assumed office
5 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byIan Lavery (Labour Party Chairman)
Ian Lavery & Andrew Gwynne (Co-National Campaign Coordinators)
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
1 July 2016 – 5 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byPat Glass
Succeeded byRebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
In office
27 June 2016 – 6 October 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byKate Green
Succeeded bySarah Champion
Shadow Minister of State for Pensions
In office
11 January 2016 – 1 July 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byNick Thomas-Symonds
Succeeded byAlex Cunningham
Member of Parliament
for Ashton-under-Lyne
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byDavid Heyes
Majority4,263 (11.1%)
Personal details
Angela Bowen

(1980-03-28) 28 March 1980 (age 40)
Stockport, England
Political partyLabour
Mark Rayner (m. 2010)
Children3 Edit this at Wikidata

Angela Rayner (née Bowen; born 28 March 1980) is a British politician serving as Shadow First Secretary of State since 2020, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashton-under-Lyne since 2015.[1] A member of the Labour Party, Rayner has also served as its Deputy Leader, Chair and National Campaign Coordinator since April 2020.[2][3][4] She was previously Shadow Secretary of State for Education from 2016 to 2020.

Rayner left secondary school aged 16 whilst pregnant and without any qualifications. She later trained as a care worker, eventually becoming a trade union representative within Unison, during which time she joined the Labour Party. Shortly after her election to the House of Commons in 2015, she was described in the media as being part of the Labour Party's soft left and ideologically identifies as a socialist.[5]

In January 2016, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Rayner as a Junior Shadow Minister for Pensions, and later for Women and Equalities, in June. One month later, Rayner was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Education Secretary where she proposed the creation of a National Education Service (NES), modelled on the National Health Service (NHS).[6]

For her role of Shadow Education Secretary, she was considered by some as a possible future Labour Leader.[7][8][9] However, Rayner opted to not run for the Labour leadership in the 2020 leadership election, choosing to support her flat-mate Rebecca Long-Bailey, who came second to Keir Starmer, and instead successfully stood for Deputy Leader.

Early life and education[edit]

Rayner was born on 28 March 1980 in Stockport, Greater Manchester.[10] She attended Avondale School in Stockport, leaving the school aged 16 after becoming pregnant, and did not obtain any qualifications.[11][12] She later studied part-time at Stockport College, learning British Sign Language, and qualifying as a social care worker.[10]

Early career[edit]

After leaving college, Rayner worked for Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council as a care worker for a number of years. During this time, she was also elected as a trade union representative for Unison.[13] She was later elected as convenor of Unison North West, becoming the union's most senior official in the region.[14][15]

The Guardian featured a lengthy profile of Rayner in 2012, as part of an article on a trade union officer's working life.[16]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Rayner speaking at the 2020 Labour Party deputy leadership election hustings in Bristol

In 2014, Rayner was selected to become Labour's candidate for the seat of Ashton-under-Lyne, after the retirement of David Heyes. She won the seat at the 2015 general election, increasing both the Labour majority and its share of the vote in the constituency.[17] She delivered her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 3 June 2015.

Rayner nominated Andy Burnham in the 2015 Labour leadership election, but the following year became one of just 18 Members of Parliament (MP) to back the incumbent Jeremy Corbyn against challenger Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership election.[18]

On 1 July 2016, after a series of resignations from the Shadow Cabinet, Corbyn appointed Rayner to the position of Shadow Secretary of State for Education.[14]

In the 2019 general election, Rayner successfully defended her Ashton-under-Lyne seat, being returned as Member of Parliament for the third time in 5 years. She was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party on 4 April 2020, replacing Tom Watson. She was appointed Shadow First Secretary of State and Chair of the Labour Party the following day.[19]

Political views[edit]

In a 2017 interview discussing her political beliefs, Rayner highlighted her pragmatism, described herself as being part of the "soft left" of the Labour Party.[7] As shadow education secretary, Rayner has championed the policy of a ’National Education Service’, which would be modelled along similar lines to the UK National Health Service, as well as promoting an increase in funding to early years education. She has previously written that decreasing teachers' salaries would lead to shortages in those joining the profession.[20]

Rayner identifies as a socialist.[21] She is an ardent supporter of Palestinian rights, condemning the killings of Palestinians during the Great March of Return and has repeatedly cited Israeli violations of human rights against Palestinians on social media. She is also a member of the Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East.[22] She has strongly criticised former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as he 'did not command the respect of the party' and critiqued his lack of 'discipline' when it came to dealing with antisemitism.[23]

Personal life[edit]

In 2010, she married Mark Rayner, a Unison official.[10] She has three sons: Ryan, who was born when she was aged 16; Jimmy; and Charlie.[11] Charlie was born prematurely at 23 weeks and Rayner says that the care he received demonstrated the importance of the NHS to her.[15][24] Rayner lives in her constituency of Ashton-under-Lyne with her family. She became a grandmother in November 2017.[25]

In an interview with Evan Davis of the BBC in 2018, Rayner said that her mother had been unable to read or write; a repeat of part of a tribute she made to her mother in 2016.[26]

In March 2019, Rayner revealed that she had fitted panic buttons at her home after rape and death threats were sent to her a few weeks earlier.[27] In March 2020, she confirmed she had been suffering symptoms of coronavirus disease and was self-isolating following medical advice.[28]


  1. ^ "Ashton-under-Lyne". BBC News Online. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ @ChrisMasonBBC (5 April 2020). "NEW: Shadow Cabinet big gigs announced:" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 April 2020 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "Angela Rayner MP (@AngelaRayner)". Twitter. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020. Chair and Deputy Leader of the UK Labour Party.
  4. ^ "Keir Starmer appoints Labour frontbench". Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Labour's Angela Rayner:'Ideology never put food on my table".
  6. ^ "Labour to outline plans for National Education Service and 'cradle to grave' learning". 26 September 2017. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b Moss, Stephen (28 July 2017). "Labour's Angela Rayner: 'I'm proper working-class and Jeremy Kyle'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  8. ^ "The irresistible rise of Angela Rayner". Archived from the original on 26 September 2017.
  9. ^ Fitzgerald, Todd (10 February 2017). "Corbyn says 2 Labour MPs tipped to replace him could 'absolutely' be leaders". Archived from the original on 8 November 2017.
  10. ^ a b c 'RAYNER, Angela', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn., November 2016 accessed 5 Oct 2017
  11. ^ a b "Not bad for a ginger kid!". Oldham Chronicle. 11 November 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  12. ^ Teen mum turned Labour MP: Why Angela Rayner should have the Tories running scared Archived 30 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Daily Telegraph, 29 September 2016
  13. ^ "Joining a trade union". GOV.UK. 15 December 2014. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Exclusive: Angela Rayner becomes third shadow education secretary in a week". Schools Week. 1 July 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  15. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Todd (7 August 2015). "Commons vow by new Ashton MP Angela Rayner who was told she'd amount to nothing". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  16. ^ "A working life: the Union Official". The Guardian. 17 February 2012. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017.
  17. ^ "New Labour candidate: We need real people with life experience to bring common sense to Parliament". Manchester Evening News. 8 September 2014. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014.
  18. ^ Pine, Sarah (27 June 2016). "Corbyn addresses crowd of up to 10,000 on eve of confidence vote". LabourList. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Keir Starmer announces senior Shadow Cabinet appointments". The Labour Party. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  20. ^ England's schools face 'severe' teacher shortage Archived 30 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine BBC News. 20 August 2018
  21. ^ ":Angela Rayner: I'm a socialist but not a 'Corbynite'".
  22. ^ "Keir Starmer as Labour Party leader: What this means for Palestine". The Middle East Monitor. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Angela Rayner: Corbyn did not command respect from Labour, Candidate for deputy leader strongly criticises current leader and speaks about her difficult childhood". The Guardian.
  24. ^ "UK unions blast Education Secretary over controversial reforms". Equal Times. 30 April 2013. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  25. ^ "Grangela: Labour's Angela Rayner is grandmother at 37". BBC News. 22 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 November 2017 – via
  26. ^ "Labour MP Angela Rayner's tribute to her 'inspirational' mother". 24 September 2016. Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  27. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (4 March 2019). "Angela Rayner has panic buttons fitted after online threats". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  28. ^ "North West MP Angela Rayner says she is self-isolating". ITV News. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Heyes
Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne
Political offices
Preceded by
Pat Glass
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Succeeded by
Rebecca Long-Bailey
Preceded by
Tom Watson
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Preceded by
Emily Thornberry
Shadow First Secretary of State