Angela Rayner: police investigate Deputy Labour Leader over alleged electoral law offence

UK Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner. Image: Jordan Pettitt/Press Association.UK Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner. Image: Jordan Pettitt/Press Association.
UK Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner. Image: Jordan Pettitt/Press Association.
Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner has faced scrutiny over whether she should have paid tax on the sale of her council house.

Police have opened an investigation into Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner.

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP is accused of potentially breaking electoral law by failing to properly disclose her main residence in official documents. It comes as opposition figures have questioned whether Rayner should have paid capital gains tax on the sale of her council house before she became an MP.

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Rayner has denied any offence and says she has received legal advice which confirms her position. “I am confident that I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong,” she told the BBC’s Today Programme last month. “I’ve been very clear on my advice that I’ve received.”

She said she was told at the time that she had followed the proper tax process. “I will comply and give HMRC that information,” she said. “If the police want that information, and they want me to give them that information, I’m happily going to give that information.”

On Friday (12 April), Greater Manchester Police said it had launched an investigation after James Daly, a deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, made the force aware of neighbours contradicting Rayner’s statement that her property, separate from her then husband’s, was her main residence.

GMP previously said it would not be investigating the allegations, but following a complaint from Daly, the police confirmed it had opened an investigation. They said: “We’re investigating whether any offences have been committed. This follows a reassessment of the information provided to us by Mr Daly.”

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the police investigation into Rayner’s council house sale and said it will allow a “line to be drawn” on the issue. He said: “We welcome this investigation because it will allow a line to be drawn in relation to this matter.

“I am fully confident that Angela Rayner has not broken the rules. She will co-operate with the investigation as you would expect and it is really a matter for the police.”

She has rejected suggestions in a book by former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft that she failed to properly declare her main home. The unauthorised biography alleges that she bought her former council house, in Vicarage Road in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with a 25% discount in 2007 under the right-to-buy scheme.

Rayner is said to have made a £48,500 profit when selling the house eight years later. Government guidance says that a tenant can apply to buy their council home through the right-to-buy scheme if it is their “only or main home”.

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Her husband was listed at another address in Lowndes Lane, about a mile away, which had also been bought under the right-to-buy scheme. In the same year as her wedding, Rayner is said to have re-registered the births of her two youngest children, giving her address as where her husband resided.

She has insisted that Vicarage Road was her “principal property” despite her husband living elsewhere at the time. But neighbours have reportedly disputed her claim that she lived apart from her husband.

Starmer has previously said the Conservatives are “chasing a smear” in raising questions about the deputy leader and people were more interested in “problems caused by this government”.

He said: “Angela Rayner has been asked no end of questions about this. She’s answered them all. She said she’s very happy to answer any further questions from the police or from any of the authorities. don’t need to see the legal advice. My team has seen it.”

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Tax experts have estimated that, while Rayner may not have owed anything in capital gains tax following the sale depending on her residency situation, there are circumstances in which she could have owed as much as £3,500 to the taxman.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Angela welcomes the chance to set out the facts with the police. We remain completely confident that Angela has complied with the rules at all times and it’s now appropriate to let the police do its work.”

Additional reporting by Rhiannon James, PA Political Staff

Ralph Blackburn is NationalWorld’s politics editor based in Westminster, where he gets special access to Parliament, MPs and government briefings. If you liked this article you can follow Ralph on X (Twitter) here and sign up to his free weekly newsletter Politics Uncovered, which brings you the latest analysis and gossip from Westminster every Sunday morning.

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