The shadow education secretary Angela Rayner will run to be Labour’s deputy leader, she will announce today.
The Ashton-under-Lyne MP had been touted as a potential candidate to succeed the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, who announced his plans to stand down following Labour’s losses in last month’s election.
But the Mirror newspaper reports today that Rayner, who has held the shadow education brief for more than three years, will announce plans to run for the deputy position instead, and back her colleague and flatmate Rebecca Long-Bailey for the party’s leadership.
It is not yet known whether she will seek to keep her education brief if she wins the deputy race. Tom Watson, who stood down as deputy leader and as an MP last month, was also shadow culture secretary alongside his leadership role.
Among Rayner’s backers for the role include shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner, shadow policing minister Louise Haigh and Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell, Rayner’s predecessor as shadow education secretary.
In a speech at a community centre on the estate she grew up on in Stockport, Greater Manchester, Rayner will warn that her party must “win or die”, but will saw it should not return to the “vanilla politics” of the past.
However, she will also warn the party must also avoid using the language of “revolution” if it is to win over the British public.
“The quick fix of a new leader will not be enough. We must rethink and renew our purpose and how we convince the people to share it,” she said.
“Either we face up to these new times or we become irrelevant. The next five years will be the fight of our lives and I’m standing here today because I don’t run away from a fight.”
A relatively unknown MP when she was appointed to the shadow cabinet in 2016, Rayner has become one of Labour’s most prominent front-benchers. During the election campaign, she stood in for Corbyn in televised debates, and was frequently deployed as a party spokesperson.
She left school at 16 without qualifications, becoming involved in politics through her involvement in the trade union movement while she worked in care.
As shadow education secretary, Rayner has presided over the development of Labour’s plans for a “national education service”. In 2018, she announced proposals for sweeping changes to the academies system, and this year, she set out the party’s plans to replace Ofsted.