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Angela Rayner is one of the most arresting figures in British politics today. A self-declared socialist, she pursued an unorthodox route to Westminster, leaving school and giving birth to her first child aged sixteen having gained no formal qualifications. After becoming a care worker, she was a trade union representative before entering the House of Commons in 2015 as the Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne. She served as the shadow Secretary of State for Education for four years from 2016 and was elected deputy leader of the Labour Party in April 2020.

Rayner’s life story has earned her a reputation as an authentic working-class voice and, thanks to her own power base and combative performances in the Commons Chamber, she is widely considered to be a standout figure among Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow Cabinet.

But who is the real Angela Rayner? What does she actually believe in? What is she like behind the scenes? Can she unite the factions of her party to endorse the Starmer project? And does she harbour ambitions for the top job? This careful examination of her background and career seeks to answer these questions and many more.

Michael Ashcroft’s new book follows the journey of a politician who has quickly become an outspoken and charismatic presence in British public life.


“Ashcroft successfully ekes out elements of Rayner’s remarkable backstory that have not previously surfaced, to the Labour deputy leader’s discomfort.”

George Parker, The House Magazine

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  • Hardback, 288 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785908569
  • 19 March 2024
  • £20.00
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  • ISBN: 9781785908712
  • 19 March 2024
  • £14.99
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