Starmer ‘fully confident’ Angela Rayner will be cleared by police investigation into tax row

Questions over the deputy leader's tax affairs continue to dog Labour.

Starmer ‘fully confident’ Angela Rayner will be cleared by police investigation into tax row

LONDON — Labour Leader Keir Starmer has said he is “fully confident” his deputy Angela Rayner will be cleared of breaking electoral law, after police launched an investigation into the council home row engulfing the party.

Starmer said Labour “welcomed the investigation” as it would “allow a line to be drawn under the matter,” after weeks of speculation about Rayner’s tax affairs.

Rayner has been facing scrutiny over whether she should have paid capital gains tax on the 2015 sale of her former council house in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

She listed the property as her main residence, making it exempt from capital gains, however the Mail on Sunday unearthed evidence it said suggested she may have been residing in a separate house owned by her then husband.

The Stockport property was also registered as her main address on the electoral roll.

Greater Manchester Police announced Friday it had launched an investigation into Labour’s deputy leader over allegations she gave false information to the Electoral Commission about her primary residence before she was an MP.

The police had previously declined to launch an investigation, however a “reassessment was made” after Tory Deputy Chair James Daly handed them new information, including a statement from a former neighbor.

Rayner has declined to answer substantive questions about the matter, describing the row as an invasion of her privacy.

Interviewed by ITV, Starmer refused three times to say whether Rayner should resign as deputy leader if she is found to have broken the law.

Many Labour MPs and shadow ministers have labeled the story as a smear cooked up by Conservative campaign headquarters.

Starmer made the comments during a visit to Barrow-on-Furness shipyard, where he committed a future Labour government to keeping Britain’s nuclear deterrent, which he described as the “bedrock” of U.K. defense.

He also pledged to spend 2.5 percent of U.K. GDP on defense if his party wins the next election.