Angela Rayner has suffered an embarrassing gaffe after an attack launched on the Conservative candidate for the Hartlepool by-election backfired.
In an open letter to the Conservative Party chairman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party demanded that the Tory candidate for Hartlepool, Jill Mortimer, publish her tax returns after it emerged she had spent time living in the Cayman Islands.
The letter accused Ms Mortimer of “living in a tax haven where her former husband worked as a banker”.
“I am sure I do not need to remind you that businesses that set up in places like the Cayman Islands tend to have a very specific motivation for doing so: namely to avoid paying their fair share of taxes that contribute to running the public services we all rely on in this country,” the letter from Ms Rayner read.
“That you are seeking to impose this candidate on the people of Hartlepool speaks volumes about the overwhelming sense that the Conservative Party believes that private interests should trump public interest at every turn,” Rayner added.
The letter continued with a list of ‘gotcha’ questions, insinuating Ms Mortimer “has more connections with tax havens than with Hartlepool town centre”.
The correspondence was flaunted by the Labour Party on social media as they claimed a victory in the PR war ahead of a hugely significant by-election on May 6… but the celebrations were short-lived.
Co-chair of the Conservative Party Amanda Milling was quick to respond, taking to social media to ridicule the “eye-popping error from Angela Rayner”.
As it transpires that Ms Mortimer did reside in the Cayman Islands with her family “because her then husband was a REGULATOR, working on counter-fraud, anti-corruption, and anti-terrorist financing.
“Contrary to Angela’s claim, Jill’s ex husband isn’t a ‘banker’.. …He’s a highly respected barrister and experienced financial services regulator awarded an OBE for services to regulation!” Conservative chair Amanda Milling quipped.
“Even more astonishingly,” Ms Milling continued, “Jill’s ex continued his work on regulation…in a job signed off by a Labour Foreign Secretary!
“Even by Angela’s standards this is embarrassing”, she concluded.
The Conservatives are currently odds on to take another brick out of the Red Wall when voters go to the polls in Hartlepool on May 6.