Rayner denies wrongdoing over council house sale amid police review

by 24britishtvMarch 28, 2024, noon 22
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Angela Rayner has said she did “absolutely nothing wrong” when she sold her council house after the police announced they were reviewing a decision not to investigate.

The deputy Labour leader told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was confident she had not broken any rules.

Greater Manchester police are reassessing their decision not to investigate claims Rayner may have broken electoral law, after the Conservative MP James Daly made a complaint about the force’s handling of the issue.

The Tories have piled pressure on the police to investigate claims Rayner was liable to pay capital gains tax (CGT) on the sale of the council house before she became an MP. The claims were made in a book by the former Tory deputy chair Lord Ashcroft, which suggested she had failed to properly declare her main residence.

“I am confident that I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. I’ve been very clear on my advice that I’ve received,” Rayner told Today.

Rayner has said she had received tax advice at the time stating she had followed the proper process. She said on Thursday she was happy to hand this advice over to the police or HMRC but would not make it public.

“I don’t need to publish all of my details,” she said. “My child’s birth certificate was put out in the public domain and it’s not fair on my family for that information to be out there.

“I’ve been very clear, I will if HMRC want that information, I will comply and give HMRC that information. If the police want that information, and they want me to give them that information, I’m happily going to give that information. But I’m not going to put out all of my personal details for the last 15 years.”

Rayner argued that the claims were politically motivated. “What the police have done, they’ve conducted an investigatory review, following pressure from the Conservative deputy chair, and concluded there was no case to answer,” she said. “But since then, the Conservatives have made a complaint about the police actions in that, and the police are reassessing that.”

Rayner also argued that “Boris Johnson was on to something” with his levelling up agenda while he was prime minister. She and the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, vowed on Thursday to revive the plan to redress regional inequality.

In an article for the Times ahead of Labour’s local elections campaign launch, Rayner and Starmer wrote that the Conservatives under Johnson were “starting to understand” the issues behind regional inequality but accused Rishi Sunak of killing the agenda.

“There is a consensus, I would argue in the country that that work needed to be done,” Rayner told the Today programme. “The problem was that the Tories then decided not to do that, hollowed out and took money under the guise of austerity from those areas and then created this Dragons’ Den bidding process where councils spent millions of pounds bidding against each other for little pots of their own money back.”

Rayner also said she would not slow down implementation of her planned workers’ rights reforms despite criticism from Peter Mandelson, the former business secretary and architect of New Labour.

Labour has committed to banning zero-hours contracts and strengthening workers’ protections. Last weekend, Mandelson wrote an article warning against “rushing” through changes championed by trade unions.

Rayner said on Thursday: “I’m not going to slow it down. I’ve been working with business and with the trade unions and I’ve been working with all different sectors on this.

“There is an acknowledgment that – at the moment – insecure work that people face is not only having an impact on working people’s lives, but it actually creates a circumstance where employers can’t get the staff they need, [and] have massive [staff] turnover. This affects profit as well. So there has to be a rebalancing.”

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