Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner has revealed she is “doing the groundwork now” to ensure the party’s next leader is a woman.
The Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work admitted she would ‘certainly push’ for Sir Keir Starmer’s successor to be a woman, but she joked that at the moment she was ‘happy with Keir because I become the responsible woman”.
Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Rayner was asked if the Labor Party was ready for a female leader and if she would consider running for the post herself.
She told Times Radio: “I think Labor is ready and I’m laying the groundwork now to make sure it’s ready by supporting other women and saying you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. .
“What if I were to respond to you and say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to run for Labor leader’, I hope that would encourage other women to say, ‘I’m going to run’, not say, ‘Oh , well, Angie is up, so I can’t.”
She added: “I think we’re ready for that and I would definitely push for that. But right now I’m happy with Keir because I’m the woman in charge.
The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne has admitted it is harder to be a woman in politics than it is for men due to misogyny, abuse and threats in person and on social media. She said, “It’s a fact. And that’s across the political spectrum.
“You see the misogyny, unfortunately, that exists and that means women have a harder time.”
Rayner became deputy leader in April 2020 after serving as a longtime member of Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet. ‘I thought when I became deputy leader the abuse and threats I received was because I was deputy leader of the Labor Party,’ she said.
“It actually turns out that many women, even women who were just MPs, without any leading role, receive levels of threats that I receive, and I find that absolutely amazing. It’s not not unique to me, and that in itself is quite a worrying factor.
“It’s not because of who I am, or because of what I say, and I hear that from across the room as well. Many Conservative MPs, women MPs, get exactly the same thing.
Rayner also acknowledged that although she and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer were not “best friends” yet, they had found a way to complement each other.