THE DEPUTY Leader of the Labour Party has said the public do not know what Keir Starmer stands for amid claims he tried to sack her following the party’s poor election results.

Angela Rayner, speaking to broadcasters earlier, referred to her “very frank” relationship with the Labour leader and said they had had a “very robust” discussion following the election last week.

It comes after reports that Mr Starmer had tried to “scapegoat” Ms Rayner, stripping her of her role as party chairwoman and campaign co-ordinator over the weekend.

On Sunday night it was announced that the MP would be given a new position shadowing Michael Gove as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

She was also given the job of shadow first secretary of state.

Speaking yesterday she did not deny that Mr Starmer had attempted to sack her from the shadow cabinet, but said: “I’m not going to discuss the robust conversations that me and Keir have and have always had.

“We have had a very frank relationship and I welcome that, actually, I think it’s really constructive.

“And we came to a decision over the weekend of where both of us felt I could make the best opportunity and the best of my skills in supporting his leadership, and that’s what I want to do in my new role.”

Pressed on whether the Labour leader had tried to sack her, Ms Rayner said: “I’m really happy in the role I have got and I think the general public are not so much interested in my job but actually interested in their jobs.”

It comes after Sir Keir’s aide Carolyn Harris stepped down from her role as parliamentary private secretary amid reports she was involved in the bitter briefing war between the Labour leader’s office and Ms Rayner.

Following the final results of Thursday’s English council elections, the Tories gained 294 councillors across the nation, while Labour lost 267. In Scotland, the party lost two MSPs, but in Wales Mark Drakeford celebrated after Labour took 30 of the 60 Senedd seats.

On the election problems, Ms Rayner said: “What I heard on the doorstep is that they didn’t know what Keir Starmer stood for, so that’s what I think our challenge is, actually.

“It’s not people briefing, saying we think Keir thinks this, we think Keir thinks that, but actually about what are we doing, what are our policies?”

She said this was partly because the Labour leader had “put the country first” and acted as a “constructive opposition” to the Government during the pandemic.

Asked if she had any ambition of becoming Labour leader, she said: “I want to get Keir into Number 10 to be prime minister because I know he can do a better job.

“I rule out at the moment anything that doesn’t get us into that prospect of me being the deputy prime minister, that’s what I want.”