Angela Rayner has poured scorn on the Daily Telegraph after it chose to run a column that described Rebecca Long-Bailey as an alien.
The shadow secretary of state for education, who backed Long-Bailey for leader this week, rounded on the “hard right media” for attacking candidates “not on policy issues” but on how they look.
Aliens are among us
Columnist Allison Pearson took a personal swipe at the MP for Salford and Eccles in a piece headlined “Aliens are among us… and they’re running to be leader of the Labour Party!”
“How else to account for the spectral oddity that is Rebecca Long Bailey?
“The shadow business secretary, who looks like the love child of the Roswell alien and Mrs Merton, just confirmed that she is running to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.”
She went on to describe her “pointy little face” and “pointy little alien ears” in the shameful article, saying she could be “receiving messages from her controllers in a galaxy far, far away”.
Only just caught up with this, already in the early stages of our Labour leadership campaign we have the hard right media attacking our candidates (not on policy issues) but on how they look. I wouldn’t line our cat litter tray with this print! Our media is in such a mess! pic.twitter.com/c6rzM30RVz— Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) January 8, 2020
Several commentators have been quick to call out Pearson and the Telegraph for the bullying and inappropriate undertones of the piece.
Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson, who won widespread acclaim for his coverage of the 2019 election, tweeted:
“…and this is the impact irresponsible journalism has.
“The shower of effluence raining down from those that don’t give two figs about decent, trustworthy, honest journalism smatters those of us who do, and undermines every single one of us.
“Nice one, folks. Nice one.”
While other described the article as “uncalled for”.
‘Proud socialist’ successor to Jeremy Corbyn
Long-Bailey joined the race to become Labour leader this week, saying the party needs a “proud socialist” to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
A favourite of the Labour left, she said could be trusted to maintain “our socialist agenda”, distancing herself from candidates such as Keir Starmer.
Writing in the Tribune magazine, she said: “Many candidates in the leadership election say they will not return to the triangulation and Tory-lite policies that held our party back before Jeremy.
“But we need a leader that can be trusted with our socialist agenda. A leader who is totally committed to the policies and has the political backbone to defend them.
“We need a proud socialist to lead the Labour Party, driven by their principles and an unwavering determination to see democratic socialism in our lifetime.
“For all of these reasons and more, I have decided to stand for election to become the next leader of our party.”