Angela Rayner: Corbyn did not command respect from Labour

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<span>Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The Labour deputy leadership frontrunner, Angela Rayner, has said Jeremy Corbyn “didn’t command respect” as leader and claimed that she “resonates with the country” in a way he does not.

Rayner made the remarks in an interview with ITV News, in which her mother predicted her daughter would be “running this country in a few years’ time” and that she could do it now if she wanted.

Rayner did not throw her hat into the ring to be leader but instead announced she would support Rebecca Long-Bailey, an ally of Corbyn, who is backing her friend’s bid for deputy in return.

Long-Bailey has said she would be happy to offer Corbyn a place in her shadow cabinet but Rayner appeared to take a different stance, telling the broadcaster that “now the opportunity should be for the next generation to come forward”.

She added: “Obviously the people who’ve been in the party a long time like Jeremy can support and mentor those coming forward but I do think we have to show that we’re different and that we’re bringing new talent in and we have to show that we do want to do that and change as a party, that people have confidence that we can speak to the whole of the country and that’s the best way of taking us forward.”

Asked for the political differences between her own politics and Corbyn’s, Rayner suggested she could command more respect.

“I’m more bombastic, more focused and more sharp, and I would expect more discipline in a way that Jeremy didn’t,” she said. “He didn’t command respect, and he therefore wasn’t able to command that collectivism in the Labour party. I think that’s the one thing that I’ve got. I’ve had the respect and the support of all of the parliamentary Labour party and up and down the country most of the constituency Labour parties have supported me in this process. I resonate with people in the country in a way that Jeremy doesn’t.”

She said Corbyn was not weak on security but he had “a more international view of things, whereas I’m more pragmatic”.

“I understand the international context but I also understand most people in this country just want to know that you’re going to keep people safe and look after them and that’s my primary aim … and a lot of people didn’t think that’s what Jeremy’s primary aim was.”

Her comments are some of the strongest criticism of Corbyn from any candidate in the leadership and deputy leadership races, where contenders have generally been careful to say they would not veer too far from his legacy.

Elsewhere in ITV’s Acting Prime Minister interview with Paul Brand, Rayner spoke alongside her mother, Angela Bowen, about her difficult family life while growing up.

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP talked about her mother battling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, finding herself impoverished and struggling to feed her children.

Bowen said of her daughter: “I was in a very dark place. She used to bath me, look after me, feed me.

“If it wasn’t for her I don’t think I’d be here today.”

Bowen told of an incident where she had cut herself and taken tablets and her daughter had to intervene. She said: “I was really depressed and suicidal. [Angela] had me sectioned once ... [she] had to get the police and the ambulance.”

She says Rayner “went through everything” as a child and her behaviour was “brilliant”.

“All what she’s been through and everything, she’s come through it all and I’ve got to look at it that she’s had to go through this, down this road ... she’s gone through everything, got me in a stable way or else I wouldn’t be sitting here today, and look at her, look where she is,” she said.

Rayner said it was “nice that my mum is proud of me, because I’m proud of her”.

She added: “I remember being scared, remember staying at the bottom of my mum’s bed once, thinking is my mum going to do something, and not wanting to go to sleep because I didn’t want to go to sleep and think my mum wouldn’t be there in the morning, and that was quite traumatic.”

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Bowen said her daughter “had it rough” and she sometimes gets “upset with the way that Angie had to grow up pretty fast”.

“I always picture her as the mum when I was having that really dark time because I was acting like a baby, because that’s all I could do,” she added.

Asked what she made of Rayner’s bid to be Labour leader, Bowen said: “Watch this space, my daughter will be running this country in a few years’ time.

“She can do it – she could do it now if she wanted ... watch this space. No one else can do the job but my daughter. I am so proud of her, I really am.

“She’ll be the prime minister soon. Watch out, Boris, you won’t be there for long.”

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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