Labour's Angela Rayner: MPs think northerners are 'inbred'

Labour MP Angela Rayner has criticised how governments have treated the North - suggesting politicians think of northerners as "inbred".

Labour's shadow education secretary, who represents Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, called for economic investment for "left behind" communities and said a lack of opportunities had led people to back Brexit.

She said: "Some of the mess we've got ourselves in, in terms of, you know, we're leaving Europe and people are feeling pretty uncertain about the future, the reason for that is because successive governments have ignored people in the North.

"They think that we're sort of a bit Luddite, and dare I say it, inbred.

"They genuinely think we're all a bit weird with three eyes and that we're downwind from Sellafield so we clearly haven't got an opinion that's worth listening to and that somehow, that we just don't understand what's good for us.

"We actually want our children to not have to go to London if they manage to get a decent education and leave, we want
our young people with amazing minds to do things in our constituencies."

Ms Rayner also criticised attitudes in Westminster to teenage pregnancy and insisted that having a baby at a young age can help turn young women's lives around.

The MP, who left school at 16, pregnant and with no qualifications, stressed she was not advocating teenage pregnancy but said her experience saved her because she wanted to prove she was not a "scumbag".

She said she recently found herself shouting at the screen as MPs debated teenage pregnancy because they all seemed to view it as a "terrible" thing.

Speaking at a Times Red Box fringe event at Labour's party conference in Brighton, she said: "Even though getting pregnant at 16 and having no qualifications is not the best start for anybody, you've got to understand that where my life was, it actually saved me from where I potentially could have been.

"Because I had a little person that I had to look after and I wanted to prove to everybody that I wasn't the scumbag that they thought I was going to be, and I could be a good mum, and that somebody was finally going to love me as much as
I deserved to be loved.

"And that's what pregnancy was for me, it saved me.

"I'm not suggesting that we should advocate it, but to suggest that these young women are just failures and that they've got nothing left in their lives, I was really quite cross that actually they couldn't understand the complex reasons and some of the advantages we can have in terms of changing people's lives around.

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