Angela Rayner is the Labour Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne.
From the beginning of my working life I’ve always stood up for working people, first as a Trade Union rep representing care workers and then as a regional union official. Now I use the skills I’ve developed to represent the communities of Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth as their Member of Parliament.
Angela is not an Oxbridge-educated, former Special Adviser, professional politician.
She did not have a privileged upbringing and never went to public school or university. She was brought up on a council estate and left her local comprehensive at 16 with no qualifications and a baby already on the way, after being told she would 'never amount to anything'.
Angela has spoken about how Labour's Sure Start centres gave her, and her friends, the support they needed to become better parents and to grow and develop as young adults.
After a spell at the local FE College, Angela started working as a care worker for Stockport Council where she gained experience at the sharp end of public services. Much of her time was spent providing one-to-one care to elderly people in their own homes, looking after their personal hygiene, preparing meals, listening and showing empathy.
She was soon put forward by her women work-mates to speak for them as a union rep with UNISON. “I was mouthy,” she says, "and I would take no messing from management.” She rose through the ranks of the trade union movement with her direct experience of low pay, long hours and zero hours contracts, to become the most senior elected official of UNISON in the North West of England.
In 2015, Angela Rayner became the first woman MP in the 180-year history of her Ashton-under-Lyne constituency. She was soon promoted to the shadow whip's office by the new Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and then went on to hold the position of Shadow Pensions Minister, before becoming a member of the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Education.
Away from Parliament and politics, Angela is married to Mark, who is also a UNISON official and has three sons.