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Angela Rayner says she will ‘step down’ if she is found to have committed a crime

todayApril 13, 2024 4

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Angela Rayner says she will ‘step down’ if she is found to have committed a crime

Angela Rayner has said she will “do the right thing and step down” if she is found to have committed a crime in the police investigation into her former living arrangements.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed earlier on Friday it was re-examining allegations the deputy Labour leader may have broken electoral law over information she gave about her living situation a decade ago.

GMP made the decision after Tory MP James Daly informed the force of claims made by neighbours that allegedly contradicted Ms Rayner’s statement that her property on Vicarage Road, Stockport, was her main residence and not her husband’s – as some have claimed.

According to electoral law, it is an offence to knowingly provide false information in a voter registration application form.

Ms Rayner has repeatedly said her house on Vicarage Road was her main address and not Lowndes Lane, the home owned by her then-husband Mark Rayner that is situated about a mile away.

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In a new statement following the GMP decision, Ms Rayner said she would welcome a meeting with appropriate authorities, including HMRC and the police, “to set out the facts and draw a line under this matter”.

“I am completely confident I’ve followed the rules at all times,” 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.”

As well as facing questions over whether she has broken electoral law, Ms Rayner is also facing scrutiny over whether she paid the right amount of tax on the 2015 sale of her Vicarage Road home amid doubts over whether it was her main residence.

Ms Rayner bought the Vicarage Road council house under right-to-buy rules for £79,000 in 2007 and sold it in March 2015, shortly before she became an MP, for £127,500.

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In 2010, she married Mr Rayner and they had two children.

If she moved into Lowndes Lane home, then Vicarage Road was no longer her main residence and she should have paid tax on her £48,500 gain. Ms Rayner has said she is not liable to pay the tax and has received expert advice that backs her up.

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP, who is on course to be deputy prime minister if Labour wins the next election, said she made “no apologies for having held Conservative ministers to account in the past”, adding: “Indeed, the public would rightly expect me to do so as a deputy leader of the Opposition.”

“I will say as I did before – if I committed a criminal offence, I would of course do the right thing and step down,” she went on.

Senior Labour figures leapt to Ms Rayner’s defence following the police statement.

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‘Rayner’s double standards are extraordinary’

Leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “fully confident that Angela Rayner has not broken the rules” while shadow climate minister Ed Miliband said Ms Rayner – who left school at 16 while pregnant with no qualifications – was “inspiring” and “exactly the kind of person we need in politics”.

“We are absolutely 100% behind Angela”, he added.

However, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps accused Ms Rayner of “double standards”, and said she had “spent her political career calling people out for exactly the thing that she seems to be doing now”.

“It’s important that it’s looked into properly and I welcome the idea that the police are doing that,” he added.

Written by: Newsroom

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