Keir Starmer accused of being 'half asleep' by Rees-Mogg
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The Labour deputy made the remarks as she gave a speech calling for more people from working-class backgrounds to enter politics. The Ashton-under-Lyne MP, who grew up in Stockport, said there was a need for authenticity in politics to avoid voters from feeling “disconnected” and as if politicians are “not on their side”.
Ms Rayner’s party leader has faced repeated criticism for behaving too much like a lawyer and failing to win the trust of voters.
Sir Keir attended Oxford and was the former director of public prosecutions before he entered politics.
He was born to a working-class family in Surrey to a mum who was a nurse and a dad who was a tool maker.
Despite his humble upbringing, he has been criticised for sounding too posh and out of touch.
On Monday night in a speech at the Institute of Public Policy Research think tank, Ms Rayner said: “I have got into trouble for robust comments on occasion, but it’s more authentic than tying yourself in knots or not saying what you mean.”
She added: “If voters can’t see and hear people like them in public life, how can you blame them for feeling disconnected and thinking it’s not for them, and that the people who represent them are not on their side?”
Pledging to remain authentic, Ms Rayner revealed she refused to let Hansard, the official record-keepers of speeches in parliament, correct her grammar when they transcribe her contributions.
“The reporters for Hansard have a bit of a nightmare sometimes transcribing the way I speak in Parliament into their house style,” she said.
“But I don’t compromise on it – because it’s who I am.
“There are so many colleagues from different parties who have got working-class backgrounds but it almost gets taken out of them – and it’s a frustration for me.
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“They just grow up thinking that in order to be something you have to speak a certain way or you have to hide it away.”
There was criticism for Ms Rayner last week when she repeatedly mixed up the usage of “less” and “fewer” while standing in for Sir Keir at PMQs.
Ms Rayner has criticised Sir Keir’s style of delivery in the Commons when tackling Boris Johnson at the dispatch box in the past, saying should “put some more welly” into speeches.
The deputy leader said at the start of June: “I do think some of his conditioning when he was a lawyer and things like that, sometimes he takes the emotion out of it and he puts the strategic stuff in.
“And I think: ‘No, put some more welly into it!’”
Addressing the BBC podcast Newscast, Ms Rayner added: “I’ll go in with two boots — you know what I mean? Whereas Keir is a bit more sort of: ‘I’ll go in with the strategic case and the detail’.
“He cross-examines in a very forensic way, which I think some people prefer that style by the way.
“Other people think I’m too brash and I should tone myself down.”
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