Rayner refuses to answer key questions despite warning from fellow Labour MP

Angela Rayner refused to answer key questions today after Labour’s byelection win against the SNP.

The Deputy Labour leader appeared on Sky News today (Saturday, October 7) and was asked about the party’s strategy allowing MPs north of the border to stray from the party line in order to gain support.

Michael Shanks, who has just won the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat, warned the party over the two-child benefit cap, which Labour said it would keep.

However when asked about this, Rayner refused to comment. 

Instead, she resorted to blaming the Conservatives instead of detailing Labour’s plans for the Scottish seat.

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“One of the challenges we face because the Conservatives crashed the economy is that we won’t be able to reverse everything the Conservatives have done over the last 13 years, but we’re very determined to give Britain its future back,” she replied.

More details of its plans, including the party’s vision for housing reforms and NHS reforms, will be detailed at its annual conference in Liverpool, she said.

Of the by-election victory, she said: “I think that result shows that we are on track to continue with the plan of listening to the public, seeing what their priorities are and delivering for them and that’s what the next Labour government will do if we’re fortunate to be elected at the next general election.”

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It comes as Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf was warned he has just days left following the seismic crushing in the byelection.

Labour took Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the SNP in Thursday’s vote with a higher-than-expected swing of more than 20 percent.

Mr Yousaf said he would “reflect” on the SNP’s “disappointing result”, and Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader in the Commons, went even further, describing it as a “bit of a kicking”.

Mr Flynn said the party would need to create enthusiasm for independence among voters once again, but added that it should not downplay the effect of this by-election defeat. 

However, he denied that Mr Yousaf’s position as First Minister was in jeopardy, saying: “I don’t think that he is any trouble whatsoever.”

Labour now has two MPs in Scotland – far off its more than 40 in 2010 before its representation collapsed after the 2014 independence referendum.

Labour took Rutherglen and Hamilton West from the SNP in yesterday’s vote with a higher-than-expected swing of more than 20 percent.

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