Thursday, 12 November 2015

Ashton MP puts her foot in it, over 'Star Wars' shoes!

Angela Rayner MP

Although it might be more accurate to describe many parts of Greater Manchester as akin to a Northern Poor House rather than a 'Northern Power House', by no means, are all people who live within the Greater Manchester conurbation, affected by the government's austerity policies. Take, as an example, Angela Rayner. 

Unlike many of her constituents, who are struggling to make ends meet and are being driven to food banks by benefit sanctions and debt, and are being evicted from their homes because of the bedroom tax, Ms. Rayner, (35), the Labour MP who represents Ashton-under-Lyne, recently vented her anger after being unable to purchase a coveted pair of 'Star War Shoes' with R2-D2 heels, for the princely sum of £195 (see below).

Frustrated at her inability to obtain the shoes, the former home-help, wrote a strongly-worded letter on House of Commons notepaper to Brighton-based retailer 'Irregular Choice' and their head office. The fiery read-head, wrote:

"I have only ever bought your shoes and I am loathe to do so again, or recommend your shoes to others. I am writing to let you know that treating customers in that way will only cost you more in the long term."

If the Ashton MP, believed that writing to the company on House of Commons notepaper, might secure her an advantage, she was soon put right. Daniel Theophanides, 32, head of retail at Irregular Choice, told the press that he was -

"personally very shocked by the complaint" adding: "It was the wording of the complaint on House of Commons headed paper. One was addressed to head office and the other was sent to the shop in Brighton. The store manager saw it and that wasn't nice, it was cruel. I wouldn't  dream of writing a letter of complaint on company headed paper."

Mr. Theophanides, insists that the tyro MP, who was elected in May 2015, mistakenly believed she was on a pre-order list but the shoes were only available to people who turned up at their shops. He said: "There was a queue outside every single one of our five stores in the UK on Carnaby Street and Camden in London and in Brighton, Leicester and Norwich." adding, that he called Rayner to say he was "sorry she missed out", but did not get a chance to offer her a pair he'd sourced from China, as she "hung up."

The Ashton MP told the press - "There appears to have been a breakdown in communications with the company, which is regrettable...My complaint was about the poor level of customer service and the atttitude of a member of staff, who appears to be seeking headlines in tabloid newspapers rather than concentrating on providing a decent service to customers. Her constituency office stated that rules permit " modest use" of House of Commons stationery for personal correspondence.

Before being elected an MP in May 2015,  Ms. Rayner, was selected from an all women's short-list that was imposed on the Ashton constituency Labour Party. She started her working life as an home help and didn't go to university.  In an interview with the Guardian in February 2012, which she gave when she was a full-time Unison Branch Secretary, working at Stockport Council, she told the newspaper that she grew up on a council estate and was pregnant at 16, and was "only able to afford clothes from a charity shop."  

It's the sort of rags to riches story that we all like. The young lass from Stockport who was told that she'd never amount to anything and "would be living in a council house, on benefits with loads of kids by the time I was 30." You might say that this former home-help, has landed on her feet since she was elected the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne. But with her tacky Star Wars shoes and R2-D2 heels, - which she wont be wearing to climb Kinder Scout - she ought to be careful that she doesn't fall over on her next girls' night out.

Despite her professed working-class roots and trade union background, Rayner abstained on the government's recent welfare bill allowing them to cut £12bn from social security spending, including cutting child tax credits paid to hard working families. Deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, who called on MPs to abstain, said at the time of the vote that she'd been desperate to show that Labour had listened to the voters who had said the party was soft on benefits.

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