Politics

The investigation into Angela Rayner hinges on one thing

As with most political scandals, the heat in the Angela Rayner housing row is less about the (alleged) crime and more about the (alleged) cover-up.

Or, to put it another way, this is all about how honest and transparent the Labour deputy leader has been in responding to allegations about her living arrangements a decade ago.

The rebuttal from Ms Rayner right from the beginning has been (to paraphrase) “this is all a big Tory smear, the house at Vicarage Road was my main residence, nothing to see here”.

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Greater Manchester Police’s newly-reopened investigation may hinge on whether officers believe that was indeed the case.

If they find it wasn’t, it’s hard to imagine a terribly harsh judicial penalty being handed down.

But there would still be a substantial political price to pay, as it would demolish the defence of the Labour deputy leader and call into question her honesty.

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For a politician known for her straightforward and unvarnished manner – who has often been on the front foot chastising Conservatives for all manner of indiscretions – a humbling like that may prove too severe to survive.

Alternatively, a clean bill of health from the police may finally bury this story for Labour by putting Ms Rayner in the clear.

But even if that later point is reached, it seems the party and its second most senior figure have – at the very least – a few more days of difficult coverage ahead.

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