Angela Rayner says ‘I don't know the details of any reshuffle’
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Labour’s deputy leader claimed “[c]lassism and sexism is alive and well in the Conservative Party” in a tweet. The Ashton-under-Lyne MP added: “Michael your PM went to Oxford and Eton but can’t even do a speech without embarrassing himself and talking about Peppa Pig. ‘Intellect’ or just entitlement?”
The tweet came after the representative for Lichfield tweeted that Ms Rayner “squawks on” about fellow MP Sir Geoffrey Cox and his Virgin Islands Government client, adding that she “doesn’t grasp” that the story refers to the same case, he is a top specialist in international law and that she is not capable of “holding down any job which requires intellect”.
The tweet included a link to a Guardian story about Sir Geoffrey appearing as a lawyer for a British Virgin Islands inquiry while parliament was sitting.
Ms Rayner, who has 342,000 Twitter followers, is quoted in the report claiming Sir Geoffrey was “taking the mick” and described the situation as a “test of leadership” for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Sir Geoffrey has been approached for comment but previously defended his outside interests by stating it is up to constituents of Torridge and West Devon whether or not they vote for a senior and distinguished professional in his field who still practises that profession.
In response to Ms Rayner’s tweet alleging class bias and sexism, Mr Fabricant fired off another, saying: “It took Ms Rayner long enough to respond. My tweet was posted 5 days ago. After all that time, you’d think she might have managed something more original. (All a bit sad, really. And she’s #Labour’s Deputy Leader)”.
After that, Ms Rayner shot back: “Were you calling me thick Michael? Don’t be shy, say it with your whole chest mate”.
The initial tweet by Ms Rayner was made before her major speech at the Institute for Government on overhauling standards in public life amid the Westminster “sleaze” scandal of MPs holding lucrative second jobs.
The speech was apparently blindsided by Sir Keir Starmer who was announcing his shadow cabinet reshuffle.
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In response to reporters’ questions, she said: “I don’t know the details of the reshuffle or the timing of it.
“I’ve been here concentrating on my role now, but six months ago I said again, we need some consistency in how we’re approaching things as an opposition.”
Mr Fabricant, who has 43,000 Twitter followers, told Express.co.uk: “I think Angela is very sensitive right now following Labour’s reshuffle. I have no idea what she means by ‘say it with your whole chest’. Can anyone help?”
Ms Rayner has been contacted for comment.
The reshuffle saga led Anand Menon from UK in a Changing Europe to tell: “Just the timing to do this in such a way as to cut across a speech by your deputy leader on the issue on which you’re actually getting some cut-through against the government, which is sleaze, just struck me as appallingly bad management I have to say.”
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He added: “The headlines of the Angela Rayner speech could have been Labour are putting forward proposals to tidy up sleaze in politics rather than headlines, we’ve got ‘Starmer undercuts Angela Rayner.'”
Sir Keir said: “With this reshuffle we are a smaller, more focused shadow cabinet that mirrors the shape of the Government we are shadowing.
“We must hold the Conservative Government to account on behalf of the public and demonstrate that we are the right choice to form the next government.”
The reshuffle saw veteran MP Yvette Cooper return to Labour’s frontbench by becoming shadow home secretary while David Lammy was made shadow foreign secretary.
In parliament on Wednesday, the PM poked fun at the leader of the opposition by saying he has not invited his deputy to his Christmas party this year.
Responding to a suggestion he broke coronavirus guidance last year, Mr Johnson jeered: “What I can tell (him) is that all guidance was followed completely during Number 10 and can I recommend to him that he does the same with his own Christmas party, which is advertised for December 15th, to which unaccountably he’s failed to invite the deputy leader.”
Sir Keir quoted the rules in place last year which stated nobody can “have a work Christmas lunch or party”.
In response to the prime minister’s criticism, he said: “Nice try but that won’t work.”
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