Rishi Sunak’s attack on Angela Rayner over tax affairs spectacularly backfires at PMQs

"We've got a billionaire prime minister... both of whose families have used schemes to avoid millions of pounds of tax, smearing a working class woman."

Keir Starmer

Rishi Sunak was left humiliated at Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, after trying to attack Labour’s Deputy leader Angela Rayner over her tax affairs, with Keir Starmer accusing the billionaire Prime Minister of ‘smearing a working class woman’.

During a heated exchange, Sunak tried to use the police investigation into Rayner’s tax affairs as a deflection strategy. Greater Manchester Police is looking into claims Rayner may have broken electoral law in the early 2010s.

The MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne was registered on the electoral roll at her Stockport council house from 2007 until 2015 and says this was her principle property.

Her husband was listed at another address around a mile away. Tory critics have claimed that she may have broken electoral law by declaring her own home, Vicarage Road, to be her main residence rather than her then husband’s home and have also alleged that she may owe capital gains tax on the 2015 sale of her Stockport home. However, Rayner has insisted that she has done nothing wrong and has received legal advice that no rules have been broken.

She has also pledged to step down as deputy leader of the Labour party if a police investigation finds she has committed a crime.

Labour leader Keir Starmer launched a staunch defence of Rayner this afternoon.

Starmer began PMQs with a question about Liz Truss’s new book, which launched this week and for which she has been conducting interviews, in which she seeks to blame everyone else for her disastrous economic policies that resulted in her being booted from office.

Starmer highlighted how working people are still paying the price for her actions, and said: “I am privileged to be the proud owner of a copy of the former prime minister’s new book.

“It is a rare unsigned copy. It is the only unsigned copy.

“It is quite the read. She claims the Tory Party’s disastrous kamikaze budget that triggered chaos for millions was – her words – ‘the happiest moment of her premiership’.

“Has the prime minister met anyone with a mortgage who agrees?”

Sunak replied: “All I would say is he ought to spend a bit less time reading that book and a bit more time reading the deputy leader’s (Angela Rayner) tax advice.”

In response, Sir Keir said: “We’ve got a billionaire prime minister… both of whose families have used schemes to avoid millions of pounds of tax, smearing a working class woman.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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