Tory MP who reported Angela Rayner to police fails yet again to explain what she’s done wrong

James Daly is embroiled in furious row with another MP on live TV after again refusing to say what offences he thought Labour’s deputy leader had committed

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 17 April 2024 15:51 BST
Tory MP who complained about Angela Rayner to police refuses to say what he thinks she's done wrong

The Tory MP who reported Angela Rayner to the police over the sale of her former council house got embroiled in a furious row with another member of parliament on live TV after again refusing to say what offences he thought Labour’s deputy leader had committed.

James Daly, the Conservative Party deputy chairman, accused Chris Bryant of “shouting” over him and previously making “all sorts of public allegations” in a testy exchange between the pair on Sky News following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

The row came after it emerged that the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) investigation into Ms Rayner had been extended to consider whether she avoided paying the right amount of tax on the sale of her former property in Stockport before she became an MP - in addition to whether she had correctly registered at the right address.

“Shout a bit louder so none of us can hear,” Mr Daly said after being interrupted by Mr Bryant, who had asked him what he thought Ms Rayner had done wrong.

“Unlike Chris, who shouts and makes all sorts of public allegations, what I want to do is - an allegation has been made to the police, the police are investigating that allegation - let’s give them the time and opportunity to do that”.

James Daly and Chris Bryant
James Daly and Chris Bryant ( Sky News)

It was the second time this week that Mr Daly, who represents the red wall seat of Bury North in Greater Manchester, declined to give an answer to the question - despite applying pressure on the police to investigate by writing a letter to GMP outlining his concerns after the force initially decided Ms Rayner had no case to answer.

He wrote to the force to make it aware that neighbours of Ms Rayner had contradicted her account that a property, separate from her husband’s, was her main residency. GMP then announced it was investigating that matter.

Mr Daly declined to answer the question three times during an awkward exchange on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme on Tuesday. “Well, the Greater Manchester Police last week…announced that they were investigating various matters in relation to this and therefore I think it’s perfectly appropriate to allow that investigation to proceed,” he said.

The row, which erupted following an investigation by the former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft in his book Red Queen? The Unauthorised Biography of Angela Rayner published last month, featured in the exchanges at PMQs and looks likely to rumble on.

Daly on the BBC
Daly on the BBC ( BBC)

Sir Keir Starmer accused Rishi Sunak of trying to “smear a working-class woman” after the prime minister told the Labour leader he should spend more time reading his deputy’s tax advice than reading former PM Liz Truss’s book.

Ms Rayner has insisted she has done nothing wrong and vowed to resign if found to have committed any offences. She said the story was a smear being pushed by the Conservative Party to hurt her and Labour ahead of the local elections on 2 May.

A former Tory minister has joined high profile figures to come out in defence of Ms Rayner. Nick Boles, who was an MP for nine years, slammed the scrutiny over the sale of Ms Rayner’s former council home and whether she avoided paying the right tax or had correctly registered at the right address.

“The Conservative attack on Angela Rayner is one of the most grotesque spectacles of hypocrisy I have ever witnessed,” he said while former Conservative MP Matthew Parris condemned what he called “the hounding” of the Labour MP, dubbing it “outrageous: brutal, snobbish and completely out of proportion to any mistake she may (or may not) have made”.

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal also said that “based on whats in the public domain”, the crown prosecutor would take no action against Ms Rayner.

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