Rayner has Johnson in her sights with grouse shooting jibe

Angela Rayner's battle with Boris Johnson meant it was a different sort of Prime Minister's Questions, with Labour's deputy leader taking a characteristically abrasive approach.

While Sir Keir Starmer – a former director of public prosecutions – often appears to treat the Commons as a courtroom in his questioning of the Prime Minister, Ms Rayner's approach mixed impassioned attacks with mocking humour.

She accused the Prime Minister of focusing on the continuation of grouse shooting rather than the return of family life as the country battles coronavirus and highlighted his £2,300-an-hour earnings as a columnist before entering No 10.

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Angela Rayner during the deputy Labour leadership hustings at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday January 18, 2020. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
File photo dated 30/11/19 of Angela Rayner, who has won the Labour party deputy leadership race by 52.6% of the vote.
Angela Rayner speaking during a deputy leadership hustings event for the Labour Party, at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Picture date: Saturday February 29, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
File photo dated 15/02/20 of Angela Rayner who has won the Labour party deputy leadership race by 52.6% of the vote.
Angela Rayner during the deputy Labour leadership hustings at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday January 18, 2020. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Labour deputy leadership candidate Angela Rayner speaks to an attendee after the Labour leadership hustings event hosted by the Co-operative Party, at the Business Design Centre, London.
Labour party shadow education secretary Angela Rayner during an event in Blackpool as the Labour party set out their plans for education ahead of the upcoming General Election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner during a visit to the Scrap Creative Reuse Arts Project in Farsley, while on the General Election campaign trail in Leeds.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner gives a speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner speaks during the Labour Party annual conference at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC), in Liverpool. Picture date: Monday September 24th, 2018. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner make an announcement on poverty, inequality and social justice at The Great Hall, in Aston University, Birmingham.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner speaking outside The Old Pinehurst Library in Swindon about Labour�s fight against cuts to Children and Young Peoples Services.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary chat to Alexander Devaney during a visit to Leeds City College.
Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, addresses the TUC Congress at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.
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Ms Rayner was at the despatch box because Labour leader Sir Keir had been self-isolating while awaiting the result of a coronavirus test on one of his children.

The deputy leader began PMQs by reading a message from "a man called Keir" who "wasn't able to go to work today and his children couldn't go to school because his family had to wait for their coronavirus test results despite the Prime Minister's promise of results within 24 hours".

In a sign that Mr Johnson may have preferred a more familiar adversary, the Prime Minister said that as there had been a negative test for Sir Keir's child "I don't know why he is not here".

Ms Rayner raised the issue of salaries for care home workers – contrasting them with the sums Mr Johnson commanded as a Daily Telegraph columnist.

She questioned the Prime Minister's Operation Moonshot mass testing plan, saying that "meanwhile on planet Earth there are no NHS tests available for several high-infection areas".

And she aimed a jibe at Mr Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings, saying that "the next time a man with Covid symptoms drives from London to Durham it will probably be for the nearest Covid test".

In a final attack on the Government, she said: "This winter, we are staring down the barrel of a second wave with no plan for the looming crisis.

"People can't say goodbye to their loved ones, grandparents can't see their grandchildren and frontline staff can't get the tests that they need – and what was the top priority for the Covid war cabinet this weekend? Restoring grouse shooting."

It was "good news for people like the Prime Minister's friend who paid for a luxury Christmas getaway to a Caribbean island and funded his leadership campaign and just so happens to own two grouse moor estates" – a reference to businessman David Ross.

Mr Johnson – who has frequently launched personal attacks on Sir Keir during their clashes – drew back from such a response to Ms Rayner, instead focusing on her party as a whole.

The Prime Minister said: "While the Labour opposition has been consistently carping from the sidelines throughout this crisis and raising, frankly, issues that are tangential if not scare stories about what is going on, we are getting on with delivering for the British public."

After the Commons session had finished, Sir Keir praised his deputy for a "fantastic PMQs".

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