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Angela Rayner challenges Tory critics over her tax affairs: ‘If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine’

Angela Rayner has thrown down the gauntlet to prime minister Rishi Sunak, challenging him and two of his Conservative colleagues to publish their tax records if they want hers.

She refused to disclose advice she received amid claims she may have avoided capital gains tax on the 2015 sale of her council house.

The Labour deputy leader taunted her Tory critics, stressing that she has “done nothing wrong”, and saying: “If you show me yours, I will show you mine.”

Naming Mr Sunak, the chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Tory deputy chair James Daly, Ms Rayner said: “If [they] all want to say ‘I’ll give you the last 15 years of my tax details’, I’m happy to disclose all of mine as well at the same time.”

Her challenge came as she and Sir Keir Starmer launched Labour’s campaign for the 2 May local elections. Parking his party’s tanks squarely on the Conservatives’ lawn, Sir Keir promised to revive Boris Johnson’s failed levelling-up agenda.

Heaping praise on the ex-PM for having the right idea in investing outside the southeast of England, he sought to drive a wedge between Mr Johnson and his successor, accusing Mr Sunak of “strangling levelling up at birth”.

In a blow to Labour’s hope of the story petering out, Greater Manchester Police said it would review claims Ms Rayner may have broken electoral law over information she gave about her living situation a decade ago.

Bury North MP Mr Daly has alleged she may have made a false declaration about where she was living on the electoral register.

Angela Rayner has described the claims against her as a ‘smear’ (Getty)
Angela Rayner has described the claims against her as a ‘smear’ (Getty)

He says has been told a detective chief inspector is reassessing the force’s decision not to open an investigation into the claims.

Grilled about the development on Thursday, Ms Rayner said the police had been put under pressure by Mr Daly to launch an investigation and she was “confident I have done absolutely nothing wrong”.

“I have been very clear about the advice I have received,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I don’t need to publish all of my details, my child’s birth certificate was put out in the public domain and it is not fair on my family.”

Ms Rayner promised to comply with HMRC, the police and any authorities who want to see her tax advice and, in a challenge to Mr Daly and the Conservatives, she added: “If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine.”

She said: “If the deputy chairman, Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt all want to say I’ll give you the last 15 years of my tax details, I’m happy to disclose all of mine as well at the same time. I’m open to that if that’s what they want us to do.”

Sir Keir has said Ms Rayner has his “full support and full confidence, today and every day”, adding that she has “answered I don’t know how many questions about this… she has not broken any rules”.

Keir Starmer said Rayner has his ‘full support today and everyday’ (Getty)
Keir Starmer said Rayner has his ‘full support today and everyday’ (Getty)

The Labour leader said he has “faith in Angela Rayner’s answers”, and said his team, but not him personally, have looked at the tax advice Ms Rayner received about the council house. He said it is “a sign of how desperate the Tories have got, that they want to make this the issue in a local election, which should be about their failure in delivery”.

Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson and his successors of having “preyed on people’s hopes” with unfulfilled promises over levelling up.

He said: “People say to me, the worst thing you can do in politics is to prey on peoples’ fear.

“Yet in some ways, preying on their hopes is just as bad. And that’s what the Tories did with levelling up. Of course, it struck a chord. Of course – a town like Dudley [in the West Midlands] wanted that hope to be real. Not just the promise of a better future – we all need that.

“It’s also how that project knowingly spoke to what towns like this have lost, the way of life that disappeared when the factories or pits closed. The community, the security, the ‘chest-out’ pride that grows when you are certain your contribution is respected.”

In an appeal to disgruntled Tory 2019 voters, Ms Rayner also hailed Boris Johnson’s levelling-up agenda, saying the former PM was “onto something”.

She added: “The problem is 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 Dragon’s Den bidding process where councils spent millions of pounds bidding against each other for little pots of their own money back.”

Meanwhile, Sir Keir said the Tories have “beat the hope out of people over the last 14 years”.

He said: “We’ve got to give people hope. Hope that politics can change, that we can return to a place where promises matter, where values and standards in public life matter.”

“That is one reason why we came to Dudley to launch this campaign, because of course it was right here that the former prime minister, or former, former prime minister to be accurate, gave his big levelling-up speech.”

Ms Rayner has faced scrutiny about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the 2015 sale of her council house due to confusion over whether it was her principal residency.

She has rejected suggestions in a book by former Tory deputy chair Lord Ashcroft that she failed to properly declare her main home.

Rayner has accused former Tory deputy chair Lord Ashcorft of having an ‘unhealthy’ interest in her private life (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty)
Rayner has accused former Tory deputy chair Lord Ashcorft of having an ‘unhealthy’ interest in her private life (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty)

The unauthorised biography alleges that the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne bought her former council house, in Vicarage Road in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with a 25 per cent discount in 2007 under the right-to-buy scheme.

The former carer is said to have made a £48,500 profit when selling the house eight years later.

Government guidance says that 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 address in Lowndes Lane, about a mile away, which had also been bought under the right-to-buy scheme.

In the same year as her wedding, Ms Rayner is said to have re-registered the births of her two youngest children, giving her address as where her husband resided.

Ms Rayner has insisted that Vicarage Road was her “principal property” despite her husband living elsewhere at the time, but neighbours have reportedly disputed her claim that she lived apart from her husband.

Tax experts have estimated that, while Ms Rayner may not have owed anything in capital gains tax following the sale depending on her residency situation, there are circumstances in which she could have owed as much as £3,500 to the taxman.