'Different expectation' on publishing tax returns for Sunak and Rayner, says Lammy

By John Mercury April 8, 2024

Angela Rayner has “played by the rules” when it comes to her tax affairs, her shadow cabinet colleague has said, amid further claims around her former living arrangements.

Labour’s deputy leader has come under the spotlight in recent weeks over the sale of an ex-council house she previously owned in Stockport, having been accused of avoiding capital gains tax on it – something she has denied.

The allegations centre around whether the property was her primary residence, as she claims – or whether she was actually living at her then husband’s address nearby, making her liable for capital gains after the sale of the property.

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The Mail on Sunday has now claimed to have seen dozens of social media posts from the Labour MP between 2010 and 2015, which it said showed her now ex’s address was her main property.

But shadow foreign secretary David Lammy told Sky News that all the report showed was “like so many families across the country [Ms Rayner] had and has a blended family,” adding: “Like everybody else, she had a complicated life and spent time in her husband’s place but also her place. Lots of families do that.”

Pic: PA
Image:
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has denied any wrongdoing over the sale of her former council house. Pic: PA

Speaking on Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the fellow Labour MP said Ms Rayner had “done nothing wrong” and had the “full support” of the party.

But challenged over why she would not publish her tax returns, having called on Rishi Sunak to do so, Mr Lammy said: “I think there’s a different arrangement and expectation for the prime minister than there is in this context and we are not yet in government.”

He said the allegations were being spread as part of the “political season” and to distract from “Tory chaos”.

Mr Lammy concluded: “She has played by the rules… I am confident that Angela has done nothing wrong here at all.”

Rayner claims turning into political headache for Labour

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner is facing fresh questions over her tax affairs – and there’s a feeling in Westminster that they will not be the last.

It’s the same allegation that keeps popping up around whether she paid enough tax on the sale of her home in Stockport in 2015.

She has always maintained she has done nothing wrong – she also said she had expert tax advice, which has “confirmed” her position.

The rules around capital gains tax are somewhat complex.

Married couples can only have one principal residence for capital gains tax purposes but if the couple own more than one home then they are free to choose which is their principal residence.

And clearly social media postings are not conclusive.

The bigger problem for Ms Rayner politically is that she’s not currently willing to publish tax advice which she claims exonerates her and has not shown it to the party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Without that, the Conservatives are keen to carry on questioning whether she fully followed the rules around this property.

Whether she has broken the rules is unclear but what is becoming apparent is how quickly this is turning into a political headache for the Labour Party.

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Deputy chairman of the Conservative Party James Daly called on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to “show some leadership and open a full, transparent and independent investigation into the Rayner scandal”.

He said Ms Rayner should “stop dismissing and distracting and come clean now”.

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In response to the Mail’s claims, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “Angela and her husband mutually decided to maintain their existing residences to reflect their family’s circumstances and they shared childcare responsibilities.

“Angela has always made clear she also spent time at her husband’s property when they had children and got married. She was perfectly entitled to do so.”

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