'We will not be told by any man': Rayner fires back at Watson over 'continuity Corbyn' jibe

Labour deputy leadership candidate Angela Rayner has fired back at Tom Watson after he said her friend Rebecca Long-Bailey would be Jeremy Corbyn’s “continuity candidate”.

Ms Rayner, who announced her deputy leadership bid on Monday, was asked on Sky News about her close affiliation with flatmate Ms Long-Bailey, who is expected to announce her candidacy for leadership imminently.

When Mr Watson’s comments earlier on the same channel were put to her, Ms Rayner said the pair will “not be told that we are continuity anything from any man”.

Former deputy leader Mr Watson, who stood down last month, had said of Ms Long-Bailey: “She sort of stands for Corbynism in its purest sense and that’s perfectly legitimate, but we have lost two elections with that play.”

FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Angela Rayner the Shadow Secretary of State for Education addresses the audience during a climate emergency rally on November 27, 2019 in Falmouth, England. Jeremy Corbyn along with leaders of the Liberal Democrats, The SNP and the Green party will debate the climate on Thursday night. Leader of The Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, has refused to take part. (Photo by William Dax/Getty Images)
Angela Rayner (file image) (William Dax/Getty Images)

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Ms Rayner hit back at her former shadow cabinet colleague, saying: ”As a northern working-class lass, I’ve been underestimated and told my place ever since I was born.

“And two northern women, I can tell you, will not be told that we are continuity anything from any man.”

She went on: “We will set out what we are and I’m sure Rebecca will set out who she is and when… if she decides to stand, she will get my support.

“Rebecca is her own person and I am my own person. I won’t be told what Angela Rayner should be either.”

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Ms Rayner launched her deputy leadership pitch in her native Stockport, where she confirmed she would back Ms Long-Bailey.

It comes as the party leadership and deputy leadership races begin to gather pace. Labour will today announce its timetable for the polls, formally kicking off the contests.