One of Jeremy Corbyn’s top team has hit back at abuse she receives for her accent, and tweeted that she will not change the way she speaks.
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner had received “half a dozen” emails attacking her for her northern accent, according to her office, following an appearance on Channel 4 on Tuesday.
Amongst these emails, seen by HuffPostUK, were the lines: “you sound as thick as mince and seem to be devoid of an original thought”, and “If you wanted to represent Northerners as ‘thick individuals’, then well done you have succeeded”.
A Labour source also claimed snobbery towards Rayner came from within the party, a small proportion of which, they said, equates her accent with stupidity.
Rayner, seen as a rising star in the Labour party, was elected in as an MP in 2015. She comes from Stockport, in Greater Manchester.
The MP’s office said the emails came mostly from the South of England, “places like Herefordshire”.
“Quite a lot of it is based on snobbery - people look down their noses on regional accents”, her office said. “We see this on a regular basis”.
“It’s about the way she speaks - she has said before she wasn’t born with a plum in her mouth.”
Another Labour source said some of the snobbery directed at Rayner came from within the party, as some “equate a regional accent with stupidity”.
“There is whispering in the party, particularly from those who took more conventional route to parliament, coming from Oxbridge. There seems to be some resentment that a working class woman who left school at 16 is there.”
“Most of the people are just not used to it are Tories, but there are a tiny proportion of people in Labour, just because they don’t like someone who is clearly from a working class background”, the source said.
Abusive emails received by the MP in the last month include the following:
I just listened to you on Q Time. You sound as thick as mince and seem to be devoid of an original thought. In what sense do you see yourself as a people’s representative? I’m sure most would feel embarrassed. I did, and I vote labour.
I am appalled having watched you on question time. If you wanted to represent Northerners as ‘thick individuals’, then well done you have succeeded. I work in a school and I would not be able to appoint you as you cannot speak Standard English. We have 26 letters in the alphabet and 44 phonemes in the English Language. I suggest you learn them, particularly the letter ‘T’. Look at YOUR constituancy rather than the labour line. I will happily give you my home address and would welcome a one to one discussion with you. Please contact me directly on ............................ and I would love to discuss this further with you. I look forward to hearing from you.
An embarrassed constituent.
By improving her English grammar and spoken English, she might have more credibility as Shadow Education Secretary. I cringed a few minutes ago when, on Breakfast Television (BBC) she said, “There is issues……………” oops, plural subject and singular verb….. should have been “There are issues……” Seconds later she was dropping Hs…
I am appalled.
Rayner’s office said she “shrugged the abuse off”, but had tweeted in order to mark that it was happening.