Rising Labour star Angela Rayner has revealed a man claiming to be a Jeremy Corbyn supporter was arrested after threating to rape and murder her on social media.
The revelations came as the Shadow Education secretary hit out at hard-left critics who attacked her online in recent days, some of whom have used the twitter hashtag #ResignRayner.
Rayner wrote on Facebook: “It was only a couple of weeks ago someone claiming to be a Jeremy supporter was arrested for making a threat to rape and murder me on social media. My house has a panic button fitted… We have to stop these personal attacks and be kinder to each other”.
Rayner has been accused over the last 24 hours by some on the hard-left on not being loyal enough to the Labour leadership, despite the fact she is generally regarded as one of the a new generation of Labour MPs who are supportive of the Corbyn project.
She said: “The nasty tweets and social media comments I’ve had over the last 24hours [sic] prove we have a problem with some on the left that cannot disagree respectfully. I’m not involved with any attempts to undermine our democratically elected leader, I don’t have any ambition to take over the party or be part of any faction and I’m not supporting Tony Blair’s war on Iraq or his attack on Labour.”
The outrage from the hard-left appears to have been prompted by Rayner’s refusal to attack Blair over comments he made about the breakaway group of Labour MPs who set up The Independent Group.
In comments that are unlikely to appease her hard-left critics, she also wrote on Facebook: “I respect Tonys [sic] right to disagree as did Jeremy when Tony was leader. I’m glad he isn’t leaving the party. We need more members not less.”
Rayner has repeatedly praised the last Labour government, saying it provided her with route out of poverty, mainly through the provision of free childcare in the form of Sure Start centres. Rayner was a teenage single mother who struggled to make ends meet when she had her child.
The online abuse meted out to Rayner shows that no one is immune to criticism if the hard-left decide they are not sufficiently socialist or loyal to the Labour leader – a test which only they are permitted to carry out.
Rayner also wrote: “to suggest that I’m because I’m trying to keep our great movement together and get Jeremy into number 10 and the Tories out make me a traitor and that I should resign… tell you we have a problem. Anyone who thinks attacking our representatives, activist or supporters in this way well get us a socialist government are sadly mistaken.”
Sadly, it is unlikely her pleas will be heeded. As other Labour MPs have already discovered, once the online mob has you in its sights, there is nothing you can do to placate them.