Angela Rayner has been appointed the new Shadow Education Secretary, the labour party has confirmed.
Rayner succeeds Lucy Powell and Pat Glass as the third Shadow Education Secretary this week following a shuffle around of leadership positions in a ‘time of national turmoil’.
Glass resigned after claiming that the position was ‘untenable’ according to a BBC report.
Powell quit after making a similar statement, claiming that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘unable to command the support of the Shadow Cabinet’ in order to ‘bring the party together’ and lead an ‘effective opposition’, an ITV news release alleges.
Rayner has respected the decisions made by her predecessors to resign, writing on her website that:
“I took a different view – but we remain good colleagues”
She mentions herself that not only the labour party but the whole of the UK is facing ‘chilling’ times’ and pertains to the system of government as ‘not the democracy that I know and love’.
Rayner has accused a small percentage of the British public, specifically the far right of misogyny, racism and violence in the aftermath of Brexit. She has revealed her intentions to put an end to these threats that are affecting women primarily.
A proud, self-proclaimed socialist and feminist, Rayner refers to herself as an example to be followed for all women. In the statement on her website, retorting the death of her colleague Jo Cox she writes:
“A working class woman in an institution which had far too few. I want more to follow. We should glory in our diversity and demonstrate our values of inclusivity, comradeship and tolerance.”
In her Maiden Speech as the first female MP of Ashton-under-Lyne she makes further statements of intent with gendered implications:
“As a mother, I know what it is like to struggle to make ends meet.”
“Perhaps as a woman, I can bring some influence on proceedings here and help end the ya-boo politics which have brought politicians into such ill-repute over recent years.”
Her duty when taking on the portfolio for women and equalities just two days before the Shadow EDSEC appointment was offered to her was to home-in on sexism and other issues revolving around inequality such as racism. Her position before that was Shadow Work and Pensions minister.
Rayner ‘relishes the challenge’ according to an article from the Oldham Evening Chronicle and is ‘honoured’ to go up against Nicky Morgan in the despatch box. It is her goal to ‘hold them [the conservatives] to account and put forward a positive vision for the future’.
She has not made her intentions as Shadow Education Secretary clear as yet, but it is still early days.
Her main area of concern will be the White Paper Academisation scheme aiming to turn all schools into academies by 2022 that the labour government is strongly opposed to. Lucy Powell and the labour government have claimed that there is a ‘black hole’ of £560m in the budget scheme according to a BBC article.
The main concerns for such teachers’ trade unions as the NUT in the shake up of the educational system revolve around the working conditions and wages of teachers. A former minister for work and pensions, Rayner has experience opposing conservative budget changes such as the MAT scheme and could provide valuable opposition in this area, adding to the pressure that Nicky Morgan is now facing.