Angela Rayner recollects excessive road recollections with nana as she slams Tory decline

Britain’s high streets are a symbol of Tory-led decline but Labour would get them thriving again, Angela Rayner has said.

Labour’s Deputy Leader shared memories of going shopping with her nan as she hit the campaign trail in Northamptonshire to tout the party’s plans to revive struggling town centres.

Sitting in a cafe in Kettering, Ms Rayner said: “It’s not just about today and how people feel about their local area and their identity. It’s also nostalgic. We all went with our nans or our mums or dads on the high street and it means so much.”

Describing her childhood in Stockport, she said: “My nana used to have one of those wheelie trolleys but I wouldn’t be seen dead wheeling it so I remember having blue hands as I carried the bags up. I remember going back to my nan’s, we used to go to Weigh and Save and get broken biscuits. They were a theme of my childhood.”

Angela Rayner Deputy Leader Labour Party visits Kettering the Labours candidate Rosie Wrighting ahead of the 2024 general election

Angela Rayner with Labour’s candidate in Kettering Rosie Wrighting
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

She added: “At my nana’s every weekend, she’d get us some broken biscuits and we’d be able to get something from Weigh and Save as well. It’s nice, you used to visit all the different shops and there were a lot more independent shops.

“We didn’t go to supermarkets so much when we were growing up. You go to the butcher, the cheese counter, you go to various different shops in the markets. It was sociable, so we’d meet the same people and everyone would know people and there was a community.”

She said getting high streets thriving again could rebuild fractured communities and said the struggles were a “symbolic representation of decline” under the Conservatives. “After 14 years of the Tories, people really feel that and a high street is symbolic of that so rejuvenating our high street is incredibly important,” she said.

Angela Rayner meets Santoriello Ferdinando, owner of Santos and Penny's barber shops, right, and customer Bernard Jones, left

Angela Rayner meets Santoriello Ferdinando, owner of Santos and Penny’s barber shops, right, and customer Bernard Jones, left
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Ms Rayner spoke to dozens of activists at a garden centre on the edge of Kettering as she pulled up on the Labour bus before hitting the town centre to visit some shops. Alongside Labour candidate Rosie Wrighting, she stopped by Santos and Penny’s barber shop to talk to owner Santoriello Ferdinando, 84, and loyal customer Bernard Jones, 82.

She joked: “I’m getting to have a good old nosey round the shops. I don’t get out so much these days.” They also visited KSN Clothing to look at vintage clothes with manager Patrick Nimmo, 33, and popped into Magnolia flowers nearby to chat to owner Dean Farrar, 44.

Over a coffee in CafeNess, she said shopkeepers raised the impact of business rates, soaring energy bills, and anti-social behaviour on their businesses.

Labour has a five-point plan to save high streets, which includes reforming business rates, rolling out banking hubs so shoppers can get cash and giving communities the right to buy empty shops. The party also wants to crack down on anti-social behaviour and stamp out late payments to shopkeepers.

Angela Rayner spoke to the Mirror's Lizzy Buchan on the campaign trail

Angela Rayner spoke to the Mirror’s Lizzy Buchan on the campaign trail
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Ms Rayner said she loved being back on the campaign trail, particularly after Tory attacks on her tax affairs resulted in no police action. She said: “I’m out there saying to people, I get how hard it is and I want to be part of that change. It would be an incredible honour and a challenge but a challenge I am willing to accept.

“Because I’ve seen what the privately educated guys in suits who think they know better think about girls like me because they’ve been pretty clear about it in some of their attacks. But actually, I’m incredibly proud of the people I grew up because I see how hard they work, and I see how much harder it’s got for them under the Conservatives and I know we can do a better job.”

She added: “So I’m loving being out there chatting to people, and hopefully giving them that optimism that it’s going to be tough but it won’t be as tough as it has been over the last 14 years.”