Snobbery over Angela Rayner’s debating skills isn’t just vile, it’s plain wrong

Labour’s deputy leader is combative and quick-witted enough to thwart Johnson on her own terms, writes Sean O’Grady

Tuesday 26 April 2022 01:04
<p>Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions</p>

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions

As vile as the sexism in The Mail on Sunday’s now notorious attack on Angela Rayner was, what has attracted a bit less attention is the no less ugly classism that also infuses the piece.

The still-anonymous Tory MP who was quoted by the paper suggested that Rayner has to resort to such tactics as flashing her legs at the prime minister because she lacks his “Oxford Union debate training”. This is not only sneery – it’s plain wrong.

On the occasions when Rayner has stood in for Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs, going up against either Johnson or the nominal deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, she has been outstanding. She may have missed out on the overrated union debating society experience, but she has all the brains and passion she needs to floor the rogue prime minister in open combat. She isn’t afraid of him, though he always seems to be slightly at odds as to how to deal with a woman who can’t be patronised.

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