Angela Rayner called Tories ‘scum’ because she grew up in poverty, Gove suggests

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Michael Gove has suggested that Angela Renner called the Conservatives “scum” because she was raised in a poverty-stricken family.

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The cabinet minister also implied that the deputy leader of Labor launched her attack – in which she also called the Tories “homophobic, misogynistic, absolute despicable” – because she had been drinking.

Speaking at the Conservative convention, Mr Gove previously said he would not criticize her, telling the audience: “I like Angela Renner, so I wouldn’t see anything demeaning about her.”


But he then added: “If you consider the circumstances under which he has to grow up, and what he has achieved, one can make a mistake.”

When Mr. Gove was asked whether Ms. Rainer probably meant what he meant, she said: “It was late at night….”, amid laughter, without completing the sentence.

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Labor’s deputy leader has spoken out strongly about leaving school at the age of 16 after becoming pregnant without qualification.

She revealed that she was given dog food to eat as a child because her mother couldn’t read labels on tins — and “jelly and shaving foam” because her mother looked at the pictures on the products.

Had she grown up in “modern times”, she “definitely” would have turned away from social services, Ms Rainer said ahead of Labor’s conference last month.

In Brighton last week, Ms Rainer told Labor activists: “We couldn’t be worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, anti-feminist, downright vile. [inaudible] banana-republic, lousy, bad, etonian [inaudible] piece of scum “

Afterwards, he refused to apologize, reducing his words to something “you’ll hear very often in northern, working-class cities, that we’ll happily say to other people”—and his street language.

However, speaking on one policy exchange Mr Gove, the secretary of state for the fringe event, Level Up, told his audience: “I’m sure they know it was a mistake.”

Mr Gove was speaking after his conference address, in which he attempted to interpret the meaning of “leveling up” after widespread criticism that it was a blank slogan.

He outlined four “key principles”: strengthening local leadership, raising the standard of living, improving public services, and increasing “making people feel proud of the place they live”.

At the fringe meeting, he defended a decade of Conservative-led austerity to “lay the foundation” for better economic performance for the future.

But he also acknowledged that the barbaric cuts to local councils – for example, to the closure of libraries and leisure centers – had damaged “local pride”.

Local government having to “cut their coat quite finely” was one of the “forces at work” in the past decade as well as moving retail online.

“Then you impact on people’s sense of belonging and local pride and that is undoubtedly what happened,” Mr. Gove said.


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