Angela Rayner says Conservative MP told her ‘you’re one of us’
The shadow education secretary made it clear she does not have an unwavering belief in a meritocracy.
Few people listening to Angela Rayner would mistake her for a Conservative, but the shadow education secretary has revealed that at least one Tory MP thinks she is on the wrong side.
In an interview with The Spectator, Rayner tells editor Fraser Nelson how she was "in the Manchester nightclub scene at 13". She says she lost friends to drug overdoses and joy-riding before leaving the education system aged 16. But after getting pregnant, Rayner turned her life around by doing evening shifts, training as a Samaritan, then working for the council as a carer and eventually becoming involved in a trade union. Now she is often tipped as a successor to Jeremy Corbyn.
It is this back story that apparently prompted one Tory MP to conclude that Rayner might have joined the wrong party.
"One of the Conservatives said to me: ‘You should be one of us, Ange, this is why we’re Conservatives! You’ve done well, you’ve climbed out!’"
Rayner does not reveal the identity of the MP who tried to tap her up, but it could be one of many - as an unwavering belief in a meritocracy is something that most Tories readily sign up to.
They include business secretary Sajid Javid who has previously explained the root of his Conservative beliefs by pointing to his parents' endeavours. He said: "My mother and father had nothing and, like many people in their adopted country, worked their way up… I saw my parents’ resolve pay off, and their sense of personal responsibility and self-development was instilled in my brothers and me. My parents and, through them, my brothers and I, flourished in the UK’s meritocracy in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. I believe that what worked for my family and me works for everyone else in the UK."
Labour supporters will be relieved to hear that’s not quite how Rayner sees it. Rather, she says of the Tory approach:
"They don’t get it. My mates, who are struggling now, are no different to me. My brother and sister are smarter than me. But I’m the most successful because I’ve been given opportunities that they never had."