Angela Rayner unapologetic over vile Labour attack ads

Rishi Sunak brands Keir Starmer ‘another lefty lawyer’ at PMQs

Angela Rayner has said she is “unapologetic” over Labour’s attack ads. The party has published a series of controversial adverts on Twitter, one of which claimed Rishi Sunak does not think child sex abusers should go to prison. The poster cited Ministry of Justice figures that 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children have avoided jail and instead received community or suspended sentences since 2010.

The party has seen a declining poll lead in the wake of the new attack strategy, with its lead over the Tories shrinking to 14 points.

The poll, conducted by More in Common on April 6 to 11, saw 44 percent of people back Labour, while 30 percent said they backed the Conservatives.

This is the narrowest lead recorded by More in Common since July last year.

But despite the shrinking poll lead, Ms Rayner defended the strategy.

Asked by the Yorkshire Post whether Labour needs to be so aggressive in its messaging, the party’s Deputy Leader said: “You’re speaking to someone who has had their fair share of not only being known as not holding my punches but also accused of distracting the Prime Minister with my legs, by some media outlets.

“It’s fair to say that we won’t face challenges at the next election but I also believe that we should also be holding the Government to account for their record. 13 years? I’m sorry, but we should be holding them to account.

“I’m often told: ‘Angie, you’re not saying anything positive’. I do. I am a product of what the last Labour government did. I’m one of those kids on the council estate who was given the opportunity.”

She added: “But I’ve also seen a future stolen away from the next generation.

“You can’t have a good pension, you can’t have secure work, you can’t have your own home, you can’t go on holiday.

“And we will hold [the Conservatives] to account for it, and I think it’s absolutely right that we do.

“I’m unapologetic about that because why should we not do that? That is our job as the opposition, and I think that it’s right that people see that.”

The ad campaign has prompted criticism from within the Labour Party, with MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.

“I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper also distanced herself from the advert, claiming she was not consulted about the ad.

Meanwhile, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton, Kempton, criticised the ads, warning they could backfire and “harm” the party in some parts of the country.

He told the Independent: “I’ve expressed my disquiet about it at the very highest level of the party, and my concern that it might have a negative electoral impact in Brighton.”

One senior Labour backbencher said numerous MPs had complained to Sir Keir about the ad, saying it had caused deep frustration across the party.

The MP claimed many MPs had criticized the strategy on parliamentary WhatsApp groups, dismissing it as “gutter politics”.

Meanwhile, Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson described the first ad as “vile and desperate.”

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