Angela Rayner: No police action after council house probe

Angela Rayner
[Getty Images]

Angela Rayner will face no police action after an investigation into the Labour deputy leader's previous living arrangements.

Greater Manchester Police has been investigating the 2015 sale of her former house in Stockport after a complaint from a senior Tory MP.

She had faced questions including over whether she owed tax on the sale, and paid the right amount of council tax.

She welcomed the result and said she was focused on the election.

In a statement, Ms Rayner criticised the Conservatives for referring her to the police, calling it a tactic to "distract from their dire record".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his deputy, who had pledged to step down if found to have committed a criminal offence, had been "vindicated".

But the Conservatives said she hadn't "provided an explanation" to the questions facing her, and called on her to publish her personal tax advice.

A spokesperson for the force said it had carried out a "thorough" investigation and determined it would take no further action - but questions on personal tax and council tax were outside its remit.

Stockport Council, which has powers to investigate unpaid council tax, also said it would take "no further action" after assessing information from the police.

GMP also said it had passed information from its inquiry to HMRC, the UK's tax authority.

HMRC cannot comment on personal tax affairs - but a Labour source told the BBC it had concluded she did not owe tax on the sale of the house, after she asked them to look into the matter.

Ms Rayner has faced questions over whether she should have paid tax after selling a council house she bought under the government's right-to-buy scheme in 2007.

She sold the property eight years later for £48,500 more than she paid, after getting married in 2010.

She initially said she didn't pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the profit, because it was "my home and the only one I owned".

Those selling their "main residence" typically don't have to pay the tax - but married couples can normally only count one property as their main home for CGT purposes.

It led to questions over whether she owed tax on the sale, with Conservative deputy chair James Daly calling for an investigation.

Police inquiry reversal

GMP initially decided not to investigate in March, but reversed that decision last month, in the run-up to England's local elections, following a "reassessment" of information provided by Mr Daly.

As the row developed, the deputy Labour leader also faced questions over whether she had registered to vote at the right address, which eligible voters are required to do.

It is an offence to give "false information" when joining the electoral roll.

She was reportedly registered at the house she sold, in Vicarage Road in Stockport, Greater Manchester, until she sold it in 2015.

But she appears to have given two different addresses when she re-registered the births of two of her children in 2010 following her marriage to Mark Rayner, listing her then-husband's home on Lowndes Lane in the town.

Last month, a Labour spokesperson said Ms Rayner spent time at her husband's house after their marriage, but "the house she owned remained her main home".

In a statement, Ms Rayner said she welcomed the conclusion of the police probe and attacked the Conservatives for referring her.

"We have seen the Conservative Party use this playbook before - reporting political opponents to the police during election campaigns to distract from their dire record," she added.

Following the police announcement, a spokesperson for the party said GMP's confirmation it would be taking no action "draws a line under the matter".

"Angela has always been clear that she was not liable for capital gains tax on the sale of the home she owned before she was an MP, that she was properly registered to vote, and paid the appropriate council tax," they added.

"She took expert tax and legal advice which confirms this," the spokesperson added.