Angela Rayner hinted at ambitions to be Labour’s first woman leader.
The Labour deputy leader said she will “push” for a female to take over from Sir Keir Starmer “whether it is me or someone else.”
The Ashton-under-Lyne MP added “never say never” when pressed if she would go for the role.
Ms Rayner made the comments during an event with former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard at King’s College London organised by The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.
The Labour politician said: “I do think we will get a woman leader. The talent is there. Whether it’s me or someone else I will push to make sure there is a female leader after Keir Starmer.”
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Asked whether she would consider the role herself, Ms Rayner said: “I’ll never say never.
“With Boris Johnson the bar is so low that imposter syndrome has completely evaporated for me.
“I’d like to aim a bit higher than that but it did prove anyone can be prime minister.
“The most important thing for me is being in the place I’ll make the most difference and recognising what is right for you.
“Who knows. If I think I can do it and I think I’m the right person for the country at the time I will do it.”
The mother of three suggested a “culture problem” could be behind Labour’s failure to have a woman leader.
She said: “I don’t know why we’ve not had a female Labour leader yet.
“Maybe part of the problem is a culture problem. You have to surrender so much of your life. Women in the 21st century want to have it all but the truth is I’ve had to be absent from my son’s lives.
“Ironically, I felt like a better mum when I was 16. I am away four days a week and my children are in Manchester.
“Until we make Parliament more friendly in terms of work-life balance we’ll have the same problem.”