Rayner fires warning shot to Starmer – will 'push' for next Labour leader to be female

The deputy leader is hoping that Sir Keir Starmer’s successor will be the party’s first female leader. She joked that she was happy with the current leader “because I get to be the woman in charge”.

Ms Rayner, who comes from the left-wing of the party, may have been dismayed to see Sir Keir pip fellow leftist and woman Rebecca Long-Bailey to the post when it came to 2020’s leadership contest.

But, speaking to Times Radio on International Women’s Day, the deputy leader was asked if she would consider doing the role herself in the future.

Ms Rayner said: “I think the Labour party is ready and I’m doing the groundwork now to make sure it’s ready by supporting other women and saying you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.

“And if I was to answer you and say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to stand for the leader of the Labour party,’ I hope that that would encourage other women to say, ‘I’m going to stand,’ not say, ‘Oh, well, Angie’s standing so I can’t.”

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The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne said it was more difficult to be a woman in politics due to misogyny and the increased amount of abuse and threats they receive.

Ms Rayner said: “It’s a fact. And that’s across the political spectrum.

“You see the misogyny, unfortunately, that is around that means that women do get it more difficult.”

She added: “I thought that when I became deputy leader [in April 2020], that the abuse and the threats that I got was because I’m deputy leader of the Labour party.

“It actually transpires that many women, even women who were just MPs, without any frontbench role, are getting levels of threats that I get, and I find that absolutely astonishing.

“It is not unique to me, and that in itself is quite a worrying factor.

“It’s not because of who I am, or because of what I say, and I hear it from across the other side of the House as well. Many Conservative MPs, female MPs, get exactly the same.”

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