Police launch probe into claims Angela Rayner broke electoral law

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Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner is being investigated by the Greater Manchester Police over allegations that she potentially broke electoral law by failing to properly disclose her main residence in official documents.

Rayner was reported to police by Conservative MP James Daly over claims she might have committed an offence in the early 2010s by giving false information about where she was living.

The Labour party 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.”

Police have been re-examining claims that the deputy Labour leader may have broken electoral law when she was living between two homes in Stockport in the years before she became an MP in May 2015.

Greater Manchester Police said on Friday: “We’re investigating whether any offences have been committed. This follows a reassessment of the information provided to us by Mr Daly.”

The allegations were first made in a biography by former Conservative deputy chair Lord Michael Ashcroft — and serialised in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

The book claims Rayner bought her former council house on Stockport’s Vicarage Road at a 25 per cent discount in 2007, making a profit when she sold it at the market rate eight years later.

Because she was registered to vote at the property, she would not have been liable to pay any capital gains tax on the profit.

Yet some people have claimed she may have been living primarily at a property on Lowndes Lane, the address of her then-husband, and that it was her brother occupying the property on Vicarage Road.

The Conservative party and Tory-supporting media have relentlessly pursued the case, noting that Rayner has often led Labour calls for high standards in public life.

The pressure facing Rayner is a foretaste of the kind of intense political and media scrutiny that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his team will face as they prepare for the possibility of a transfer from opposition to government should his party win the general election expected later this year.

Starmer said on Friday: “We welcome this investigation because it allows us to draw a line in relation to this matter. I have full confidence in Angela Rayner and that she hasn’t broken the rules.”

Speaking on a visit to Barrow-in-Furness, he added: “It is now a matter for the police. We need to let them get on with their job.”

Rayner has refused to publish the tax advice she received in relation to the sale of a house more than a decade ago — saying she would only do so if Tory MPs published full details of their own finances.

“You show me yours, I’ll show you mine,” she declared on Thursday.

Dan Neidle, a tax expert, has estimated that Rayner could have been liable for a capital gains tax bill of £1,500 on the sale of the two-bedroom semi in 2015 for a profit of £48,500.

However, that may not have been the case if she had spent more than £15,000 on home improvements on Vicarage Road or if she had jointly nominated that property with her husband as their main residence.


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