Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer clash furiously at PMQs over Angela Rayner's home sale row being probed by police

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer clashed angrily at Prime Minister’s Questions over Angela Rayner’s home sale row.

The two leaders went head-to-head over the controversy, which centres on whether Labour’s Deputy Leader should have paid capital gain tax on the sale of a house in 2015, within minutes of the weekly showdown starting.

Sir Keir first mocked the Tories by referring to former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ book and her comments about her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous “mini Budget” which plunged Britain’s economy into meltdown.

He said: "I am privileged to be the proud owner of a copy of the former Prime Minister's new book. It is a rare unsigned copy. It is the only unsigned copy.

"It is quite the read. She claims the Tory Party's disastrous kamikaze budget that triggered chaos for millions was - her words - 'the happiest moment of her premiership'.

"Has the Prime Minister met anyone with a mortgage who agrees?"

But the Prime Minister hit back: “All I would say is he ought to spend a bit less time reading that book and a bit more time reading the Deputy Leader’s (Ms Rayner) tax advice,” prompting shouts of “more” from Tory MPs.

However, Sir Keir responded amid rowdy scenes in the Commons, accusing the "billionaire Prime Minister" of "smearing a working-class woman" while his family had "used schemes to avoid millions of pounds of tax".

Earlier, a Cabinet minister said Ms Rayner has “questions to answer” over her home sale controversy.

Greater Manchester Police is investigating Labour’s Deputy Leader amid the furore over whether she paid the correct capital gains tax on the sale of a house in 2015 and claims over where she was registered to vote.

The force launched the inquiry after repeatedly being pressed by a senior Tory MP to do so.

Ms Rayner denies any wrongdoing and the exact details of what the police are investigating has not been made public.

At least a dozen officers are involved in the probe, according to The Times, which also claimed they were examining tax matters and whether Ms Rayner gave false information for the electoral register when she lived between two houses in Stockport, after getting married.

These details could not be confirmed.

But Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott told Sky News: “There are obviously lots of questions for Angela to answer on this and for the Labour Party to answer on this, and they are being looked at.”

Police on Friday confirmed they are investigating Ms Rayner amid the controversy surrounding the sale of her Stockport council house and whether she gave false information to the electoral register during the 2010s.

Manchester police chief Stephen Watson told BBC Radio Manchester yesterday: “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.

“We on an initial assessment made a determination that it was unlikely we would pursue an investigation. On the provision of further investigation or further information, we have reassessed that decision and we have announced we will launch a formal investigation.”

He added: “That is 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.”

Before being elected to Parliament, Ms Rayner is understood to have used Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme in January 2007 to buy her former council home in Vicarage Road, Stockport.

In September 2010, she married Mark Rayner and the couple re-registered the births of their two sons that year, providing Mr Rayner’s address in nearby Lowndes Lane.

But Ms Rayner, then a union official, is understood to have remained on the electoral roll at Vicarage Road until 2015, when she sold the house at a profit, thought to be of £48,500.

She has faced repeated questions from the Tories over whether she should have paid capital gains tax on the 2015 sale of her home, whether it was her principal residence or not, and if she made a false declaration about where she was living on the electoral register.

But prosecutions for providing a false address on the electoral roll, under the Representation of the People Act, have a time limit of two years after the alleged offence.

Ms Rayner, who is also shadow housing secretary, has rejected claims of any wrongdoing and Sir Keir Starmer has stood by her.

She said: “I am completely confident I’ve followed the rules at all times,” adding that she would step down if she is found to have committed a crime.

Pressed on the police probe into Ms Rayner, Ms Trott added: “It’s a live police investigation, we don’t comment on live police investigations, that’s pretty standard practice.

“There are, as I said before, obviously questions to answer on this.”

Asked if Ms Rayner had a case to answer, Ms Trott continued: “It just looks a bit odd what she must be going through.

“You do make mistakes, that happens, if that has happened, then just admitting it and moving on would be in everyone’s interests.”

Shadow education minister Catherine McKinnell defended the Labour Party’s handling of the controversy swirling around Ms Rayner.

She told Sky News: “She is more than happy to liaise with the police.

“She wants to clarify these matters with the relevant authorities, the police and HMRC, and she has taken legal advice as appropriate.”

Pressed on why Sir Keir, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, is not asking Ms Rayner to show him the relevant papers so he can decide for himself whether everything was in order, she added: “He is not acting in the capacity as a lawyer, he is acting in the capacity as leader of the Labour Party.

“Angela has taken legal advice, she is now corresponding with the police, she is corresponding with HMRC where necessary, the appropriate authorities will make these decisions, it’s not a decision for Keir Starmer to take in terms of what the facts of the matter are.”

Greater Manchester Police initially said it would not be investigating the allegations against Ms Rayner but then changed their stance after a second complaint from James Daly, a Tory deputy chairman and Bury North MP.

Durham Police cleared Sir Keir and Ms Rayner over allegations that they broke coronavirus rules by having a takeaway curry with colleagues while campaigning for local elections in 2021.

The force initially investigated and found there was no evidence of rule-breaking, but looked at the case again following the intervention of Tory MP Richard Holden.

A Greater Manchester police spokesperson said on the Rayner case: “Investigations are ongoing and we won’t be commenting further until they have been completed.”