Angela Rayner

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Angela Rayner

Official portrait of Angela Rayner crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Assumed office
1 July 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
ShadowingNicky Morgan
Justine Greening
Damian Hinds
Preceded byPat Glass
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
8 May 2015
Preceded byDavid Heyes
Majority11,295 (28.4%)
Personal details
Angela Bowen

(1980-03-28) 28 March 1980 (age 39)
Stockport, England
Political partyLabour
Mark Rayner (m. 2010)
Children3 sons

Angela Rayner (née Bowen; born 28 March 1980) is a British Labour politician. Rayner was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashton-under-Lyne at the 2015 general election[1] and has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education since 1 July 2016.

Rayner, who left school as a pregnant teenager, worked as a care worker and later as a senior trade union representative with UNISON before entering politics. A member of the Labour Party's soft left,[2] she has been described as a possible future Leader of the Labour Party.[3][4] In regards to education policy, Rayner supports a proposed "National Education Service" (NES) modelled after the National Health Service.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Rayner was born on 28 March 1980 in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England.[6] She attended Avondale School in Stockport,[7] leaving school pregnant at 16 with no qualifications.[8][9] She later studied British Sign Language, care, and counselling at Stockport College, a college of further and higher education.[6]

Early career[edit]

After leaving school, Rayner worked for Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council as a care worker before being elected as a UNISON union representative.[10] She served as Convenor of UNISON North West,[11] the most senior UNISON official in the region.[12]

The Guardian featured a long profile of Rayner in 2012, as an example of a trade union officer's working life.[13]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Rayner with Jeremy Corbyn at the 2016 Labour Party conference

Rayner contested the Ashton-under-Lyne constituency in the 2015 general election, and increased the Labour majority and share of the vote in the constituency.[14] She delivered her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 3 June 2015. Rayner successfully defended her Ashton-under-Lyne seat at the general election called on 8 June 2017 both increasing the Labour Party majority and vote share.[15]

Rayner supported Andy Burnham in the 2015 Labour Party leadership election, and was one of 18 MPs to back Jeremy Corbyn against challenger Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership race.[16] Citing her pragmatism, she described her political beliefs as "soft left" in a 2017 interview.[2]

Shadow Minister[edit]

On 27 June 2016, she was promoted to Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, and was further promoted later that week to Shadow Education Secretary, as Jeremy Corbyn reshuffled his shadow cabinet following a string of resignations.[11] Rayner had previously served as Opposition Whip and Shadow Pensions Minister.


Rayner is concerned that statutory instruments enable the government to bypass parliament and fears this is a threat to democracy. Notably, Rayner is concerned that the government in 2017 raised tuition fees by statutory instrument and disregarded a later vote in parliament against this rise. Rayner fears similar statutory instruments may be used to bypass parliament over Brexit.[17]

On 24 October 2017, Rayner referred to Conservative MP and government whip Chris Heaton-Harris as a "pound-shop McCarthy" in reference to his letter to UK universities regarding their teaching on the subject of Brexit.[18]

Rayner blames the government for a shortage of teachers in UK schools. She said, "Slashing" teachers' salaries meant, "fewer people are training to join the profession, and teachers are leaving our schools in record numbers."[19] Rayner said, "[A high percentages of teachers leaving the profession] is the latest evidence that the Tories have created a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, yet ministers continue to bury their heads in the sand. The next Labour government will create a National Education Service, providing the funding our schools need and the pay our teachers deserve."[20]

Rayner is concerned that 44% of education authorities have inadequate provision for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). Rayner stated that years of "brutal Tory cuts to services" were harming those most in need of support. "When the government's own inspectors say that the most vulnerable children are being let down and deserve a better deal it is clear that there is a serious problem."[21] Rayner also complained about, "devastating cuts" in SEND provision forced onto schools and local authorities. She said, "It has brought services for children with special educational needs and disabilities to a dangerous tipping point. Despite the prime minister's promises, it is clear that austerity is not over for our most vulnerable children."[22]

Rayner is concerned that colleges of further education will have to pay pension provision for their staff. Rayner stated, "The Treasury is imposing new unfunded pension costs of £80m a year from 2020, amounting to more than £300,000 per college. So I want to reiterate our call on the government to give all schools and colleges the certainty they need and guarantee that their budgets will be protected from these stealth cuts."[23]

Personal life[edit]

In 2010 she married Mark Rayner, a UNISON official.[6] She has three sons: Ryan, who was born when she was aged 16, Jimmy, and Charlie.[7] Charlie was born prematurely at 23 weeks and Rayner says that the care he received demonstrates the importance of the NHS and education policy.[12][24] Rayner lives in her constituency of Ashton-Under-Lyne with her family.

Rayner became a grandmother in November 2017.[25]

In an interview with Evan Davis as part of the BBC Newsnight television programme broadcast on 24 September 2018, Angela Rayner said that her mother was 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 to fit panic buttons at her home after rape and death threats were sent to her a few weeks prior.[27]


  1. ^ "Ashton-under-Lyne". BBC News Online. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "The irresistible rise of Angela Rayner". Archived from the original on 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Labour to outline plans for National Education Service and 'cradle to grave' learning". 26 September 2017. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017.
  6. ^ 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, Nov 2016 accessed 5 Oct 2017
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Channel 4 News Democracy Archived 17 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine, 28 September 2016
  9. ^ Teen mum turned Labour MP: Why Angela Rayner should have the Tories running scared Archived 30 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Telegraph, 29 September 2016
  10. ^ "Joining a trade union". GOV.UK. 15 December 2014. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b Fitzgearld, 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.
  13. ^ "A working life: the Union Official". The Guardian. 17 February 2012. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ Slater, Chris (9 June 2017). "Ashton-under-Lyne General Election results 2017". Manchester Evening News. Trinity Mirror. Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ The vote against tuition fees is more than symbolic – our democracy is at stake Archived 16 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine New Statesman
  18. ^ "No 10 disowns Tory whip accused of 'McCarthyite' behaviour". The Guardian. 22 November 2017. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  19. ^ England's schools face 'severe' teacher shortage BBC News. 20 August 2018
  20. ^ Teacher crisis hits London as nearly half quit within five years The Guardian. 4 October 2018.
  21. ^ Young people with special needs 'being failed in 44% of areas in England' The Guardian. 24 October 2018
  22. ^ ‘Devastating’ cuts hit special educational needs The Observer. 10 November 2018
  23. ^ Colleges exaggerating arts students' career prospects, says Ofsted chief The Guardian. 21 November 2018
  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". 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. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  27. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (4 March 2019). "Angela Rayner has panic buttons fitted after online threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Heyes
Member of Parliament
for Ashton-under-Lyne

Political offices
Preceded by
Kate Green
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
Succeeded by
Sarah Champion
Preceded by
Pat Glass
Shadow Secretary of State for Education