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Angela Rayner pleads for family ‘privacy’ following row over ex-council house sale

Angela Rayner has said her family “deserves some privacy” as she continues to face questions over the sale of an ex-council house she previously owned.

Labour’s deputy leader has been accused of avoiding capital gains tax on the sale of the property in Stockport, Greater Manchester – something she has denied.

She has also come under scrutiny over claims she may have lived primarily at her then-husband’s address in Lowndes Lane, rather than her own at Vicarage Road, despite her registering to vote under her own address.

Under electoral rules, voters must register at their permanent home address, and there are penalties for providing false information when registering to vote.

Speaking to journalists in Westminster for the first time since the story broke, Ms Rayner said there was “never a question of deceitfulness” or “conspiracy” with regards to her living arrangements, as she outlined her “difficult” family situation at the time.

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When asked about the reports, Ms Rayner got emotional, saying: “There was never any deceivement (sic) or any problems or any question about avoiding capital gains or not saying what was right on the electoral roll – that was my house,” she said with regards to Vicarage Road.

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“And you’ve got to also understand – and this is the difficulty that has been hard for me to get over – when I got my house, it was so important to me.

“I’ve talked about my upbringing and the difficulties and challenges – getting that house so that I could provide for my son was huge. That was so important to me – I weren’t just giving it up.”

The claims about Ms Rayner’s living arrangements are contained in Lord Ashcroft’s unauthorised biography, Red Queen, which is being serialised in The Mail On Sunday.

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The newspaper revealed she had made a £48,500 profit on her ex-council house through “right-to-buy”, which gives local authority housing tenants the power to buy their home at a discounted rate – something Ms Rayner has criticised for giving some tenants “loads and loads of discount”.

According to the newspaper, Ms Rayner bought her own former council house on Vicarage Road with a 25% discount in 2007 and realised the increased return when she sold it at the market rate eight years later.

Ms Rayner has said she paid bills and council tax and was registered to vote at the address. If it was her primary address, as she has claimed, she would not have had to pay capital gains tax on it when she sold it in 2015 for £127,500.

However, there have been claims that despite registering at Vicarage Road, she was primarily living at Lowndes Lane, Mr Rayner’s address.

It has also been reported that when Ms Rayner re-registered the births of their two sons in the same year, she gave her husband’s address.

Ms Rayner told journalists that she had found it “difficult” having to share private details about her children and loved ones who haven’t sought be “in the public eye”.

She said it was “totally unacceptable” that her son’s birth certificate was published in the media.

“I had a very poorly child who was born at 23 weeks and was told to switch the life support off,” she said.

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“So it wasn’t that there was a big conspiracy or a motive to deceive or anything of that nature. It was a family trying to look out for each other in very difficult circumstances.”

Since the reports emerged, the police have confirmed that Ms Rayner will not face a police investigation over claims she gave false information about her living arrangements.

She also said she had received “expert tax advice that says I’ve not dodged any tax or anything else”.

She added: “I try and protect people who don’t ask to be in the public eye and that’s why I’ve been very clear: I’ve done nothing wrong, I’ve had expert tax advice, I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Sky News Source