What we know about the Angela Rayner allegations

Officers are investigating whether Labour’s deputy leader broke electoral law.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner. (PA)
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has denied wrongdoing. (PA)

Angela Rayner is set to be interviewed under caution by police investigating her tax affairs, it has been reported.

The Sun on Sunday said Greater Manchester Police have contacted the Labour deputy leader to arrange a date to question her.

It said Rayner is likely to be asked to attend a police station voluntarily and interviewed under caution as opposed to being arrested.

A Labour spokesperson told Yahoo News UK on Monday: “Angela has been clear that she will co-operate with any investigation.

“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.”

Yahoo News UK has approached Greater Manchester Police for comment.

Rayner has been the subject of Tory allegations that she may have given false information about her main residence a decade ago.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner celebrating at Blackpool Cricket Club after Chris Webb was declared winner in the Blackpool South by-election. The by-election was triggered after the resignation of Scott Benton. Picture date: Friday May 3, 2024.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has reportedly been asked to attend a police interview. (PA)

She has faced scrutiny about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the 2015 sale of her Stockport council house because of confusion over whether it was her principal residence, insisting she believes she followed the law at all times.

Here is everything we know – and don’t know – about the claims and subsequent row.

In short, this saga revolves around two houses in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Earlier this year, a biography of Rayner by Lord Ashcroft, former deputy chair of the Conservatives, suggested she failed to properly declare her main residency.

Red Queen? alleges Rayner, who became an MP in 2015, bought her former council house in Vicarage Road with a 25% discount in 2007 under right-to-buy. She is said to have made a £48,500 profit when selling the house in 2015, and is facing scrutiny about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the sale because of confusion over whether it was her principal residence.

According to an article in the Mail On Sunday, which serialised Lord Ashcroft’s book, documents indicate Rayner was registered on the electoral roll at this house for five years after she married Mark Rayner in 2010.

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 Stockport address in Lowndes Lane, about a mile away.

In the same year as her wedding, Rayner is said to have re-registered the births of her two youngest children, giving her address as where her husband resided. Rayner has insisted Vicarage Road was her “principal property” despite her husband living elsewhere.

The biography of Angela Rayner which prompted the allegations. (Getty Images)

On Friday, Greater Manchester Police announced a probe into claims Rayner may have broken electoral law over information she gave about her living situation.

Rayner responded by saying she is "completely confident I’ve followed the rules at all times".

She also has the backing of the Labour Party itself, with leader Sir Keir Starmer saying he has “full confidence” she had not broken the rules.

Given conflicting statements, we don’t know where Rayner actually lived. Rayner, as mentioned above, has insisted Vicarage Road was her main address, not Lowndes Lane.

However, neighbours in Vicarage Road were reported by The Times as saying they never saw her, or her children, following her 2010 wedding. One who did see her said she referred to herself as "the landlord".

In Lowndes Lanes, Sylvia Hampson, who lives next door, told the same paper Rayner lived there for “six or seven years” and “full-time from about 2009 or 2010”. Another neighbour, who was not named, was quoted as saying: “I like her and I vote Labour but she’s telling porkies if she claims she did not live here.”

The Sunday Times published testimony from Matt Finnegan, Rayner’s former aide, reportedly submitted to Greater Manchester Police which contradicts her claims.

The paper reported the letter as saying about his visit to the Lowndes Lane property in 2014: “There was no doubt in my mind that this was Ms Rayner’s family home, where she lived with her then husband, Mark. I remember it quite vividly because Ms Rayner was not at home at first and I had to wait for some time in my car before she eventually arrived.”

Sir Keir Starmer has backed Angela Rayner through the saga. (PA)
Sir Keir Starmer has backed Angela Rayner through the saga. (PA)

Finnegan left Rayner’s employment with a £20,000 payout and non-disclosure agreement after accusing her of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

We also don’t know the nature of any further allegations alluded to by Greater Manchester Police.

Another unknown is whether Rayner would actually be punished for any wrongdoing. Scott Wortley, a law lecturer at Edinburgh University, pointed out any potential prosecution should have been launched within a year of the suspected crime.

Providing false information is an offence under Section 13D of the Representation of the People Act 1983, but the legislation imposes a time limit of a year for bringing any charge. Magistrates can extend that deadline in certain circumstances, but only by another year.

Wortley described the police probe as “completely pointless”, saying: “Why waste money on investigating something absolutely time-barred? They would not do it for [Road Traffic Act] matters nearly a decade after it could be prosecuted."

“It is not the role of the police to investigate something that could never be charged.”

In a statement responding to Greater Manchester Police’s announcement on 12 April, Rayner said she would “welcome the chance to sit down with the appropriate authorities” and that she is “completely confident I’ve followed the rules at all times”.

However, she also pledged to “do the right thing and step down” if she is found to have committed a criminal offence.

On 28 March, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she would not publish the tax advice she received on the sale of her council house – unless Tory deputy chair James Daly, who led the calls for a police probe, as well as prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt, published their tax details for the last 15 years.

Angela Rayner was elected deputy leader of the Labour Party in 2020. (PA)
Angela Rayner was elected deputy leader of the Labour Party in 2020. (PA)

“If you show me yours, then I’ll show you mine,” she said.

On 22 March, Rayner told BBC’s Newsnight programme that the controversy about her tax affairs was “manufactured” in an attempt to smear her. “I was a home care worker, you know, I didn’t have an accountant… since those allegations were put to me, I got expert tax advice to make sure that I hadn’t done anything wrong.”

At a lunch with Westminster reporters on 14 March, she said: “My house was my house at Vicarage Road and I paid all my bills there, that was my home. But I did spend time at Lowndes Lane at times, of course I did. And then when I sold Vicarage Road, I lived at Lowndes Lane because I didn’t have a house and I registered there when I moved in there.”

Greater Manchester Police said on 12 April: “We’re investigating whether any offences have been committed. This follows a reassessment of the information provided to us by Mr Daly.”

In his radio interview on 16 April, Chief Constable Watson said: "All I would say in line with what we’ve put out publicly is there are a number of assertions knocking about, I don’t need to tell people that."

He said the decision to launch a probe was "a neutral act, it does not imply that information gives us any hard or fast evidence in which to base anything at this stage. It is simply that we have an allegation, these allegations are all over the news, we are going to get to the bottom of what has happened.”