‘One of the best interviews I’ve seen’ – but criticism from members dismissed as ‘toxic’ trolling
Labour MP Angela Rayner is considered a favourite to win the party’s deputy leadership contest, on a platform of not being aligned with any particular leader or politics. She said at the start of the contest:
I don’t consider myself to be of one political persuasion or another. I’m not a Blairite, I’m not a Corbynite, I’m not a Brownite. I’m an Angela Rayner – a member of the Labour party who has various different opinions on lots of different things just in the same way MPs and other party activists would.
However, Ms Rayner’s recent opinion on the first of the past leaders she mentioned – Tony Blair – will be of interest to Labour members considering how to cast their vote when the ballot opens.
“I think Tom has actually shown really great leadership actually for the Labour Party over these past weeks” – Tony Blair on Tom Watson
In March last year, Angela Rayner tweeted her opinion of an interview given by Blair on that day’s Andrew Marr show on the BBC. In that interview, Blair:
- repeatedly described the left of Labour as the ‘hard left’
- praised the ‘TIG’ MPs who quit Labour as ‘courageous’ and talked of his sympathy with them
- said that the problems in the Labour Party that had led to the quitters quitting ‘derive from [the] attitude’ of the leadership
- praised Tom Watson’s ‘really great leadership’ after he set up a right-wing grouping among Labour MPs
The full transcript of that interview is available here.
Ms Rayner’s opinion of these comments? “One of the best interviews I’ve seen from Tony Blair”:
Ms Rayner’s comment triggered a huge backlash, with around 1,700 mostly negative replies to her tweet:
However, the MP dismissed the criticism triggered by her praise of Blair’s interview as ‘trolling’ that she felt was “typical of the toxic political landscape”:
Angela Rayner was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.
Members and supporters on the left of the party considering how to vote in the coming leader and deputy leader elections would do well to take note if they want to make an informed choice.
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