Angela Rayner police probe expected to conclude before general election

The outcome of Greater Manchester Police’s investigation into Angela Rayner is expected in the next week

Archie Mitchell
Friday 24 May 2024 13:35 BST
Starmer issues defiant message of support to Angela Rayner over tax affairs

The police probe into Angela Rayner’s tax and property affairs will be concluded before the general election, with Labour increasingly confident she will be cleared, according to reports.

An announcement on the outcome of Greater Manchester Police’s investigation is expected in the next week, a month and a half after it was opened.

Ms Rayner’s allies are hoping Greater Manchester Police will make a public statement drawing a line under the row about the 2015 sale of her council house, The Times reported.

It would be a boost for Labour’s election campaign, with senior Tories having repeatedly used the investigation as an attack line.

Sir Keir Starmer kicked off Labour’s campaign alongside Angela Rayner
Sir Keir Starmer kicked off Labour’s campaign alongside Angela Rayner (Getty Images)

Police have been looking into whether she breached electoral law, failed to pay capital gains tax, and falsely received single-occupancy council tax discount.

In a sign Labour is increasingly confident that the probe will lead to nothing, Sir Keir was flanked by Ms Rayner as he kicked off Labour’s campaign for the 4 July general election.

The pair visited Gillingham Football Club, where Sir Keir said: “This election is about a choice: Two different countries, two different futures.

"Decline and chaos continuing under the Tories, or rebuilding our country under Labour.”

Police investigating Ms Rayner have suggested that there are multiple allegations, which may extend beyond her housing arrangements.

The allegations centre on the sale of Ms Rayner’s council house in Stockport and whether she broke electoral law by giving false information about her address during the 2010s.

Ms Rayner has promised to resign if she is found to have committed a crime, but has stated that she is confident she has done nothing wrong.

Greater Manchester Police initially said it would not be looking into the allegations, but following a complaint from Tory deputy chair James Daly, police confirmed they had reassessed the information and launched an investigation.

Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation following a complaint from Tory deputy chairman James Daly
Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation following a complaint from Tory deputy chairman James Daly (PA Media)

Labour has said it is confident Ms Rayner has complied with the rules, adding that the Ashton-under-Lyne MP “welcomes the chance to set out the facts with the police”.

Ms Rayner has faced scrutiny about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the 2015 sale of her council house, because of confusion over whether it was her principal residence.

She has rejected suggestions in a book by former Tory deputy chair Michael Ashcroft that she failed to properly declare where she was living.

The unauthorised biography alleges that she bought her former council house, in Vicarage Road in Stockport with a 25 per cent discount in 2007 under the right-to-buy scheme.

The former carer is said to have made a £48,500 profit when selling the house eight years later.

Government guidance says a tenant can apply to buy their council home through the right-to-buy scheme if it is their “only or main home”.

Her husband was listed at another address, in Lowndes Lane, about a mile away, which was also bought under the right-to-buy scheme.

In the same year as her wedding, Ms Rayner is said to have re-registered the births of her two youngest children, giving her address as where her husband resided.

Ms Rayner 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.

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

Ms Rayner previously said she would “welcome the chance to sit down with the appropriate authorities” and that she was “completely confident” that there had been no wrongdoing.

In a statement, she said: “I have always said that integrity and accountability are important in politics. That’s why it’s important that this is urgently looked at, independently and without political interference.

Angela Rayner promised to quit if she was found to have committed a crim
Angela Rayner promised to quit if she was found to have committed a crim (Getty Images)

“I make no apologies for having held Conservative ministers to account in the past. Indeed, the public would rightly expect me to do so as a deputy leader of the opposition.

“We have seen the Tory party use this playbook before – reporting political opponents to the police during election campaigns to distract from their record. I will say as I did before – if I committed a criminal offence, I would of course do the right thing and step down.”

Greater Manchester Police did not respond to a request for comment.

A Labour spokesman said: “Angela has been clear that she will cooperate with any investigation. We do not plan to give a running commentary.

“We remain completely confident that Angela has complied with the rules at all times and it’s now appropriate to let the police do their work.”

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