‘Check your facts!’ House of Commons laughs at Rayner after Raab attacks tax error

PMQs: Dominic Raab tells Angela Rayner to ‘check your facts’

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Angela Rayner and Dominic Raab stood in for their leaders during Prime Minister’s Question as Mr Raab was grilled over the energy crisis and the decision to cut Universal Credit. Ms Rayner made the point that Mr Raab was annoyed he would have to surrender the use of the “taxpayer-funded” Chevening House to now Foreign Secretary Liz Truss despite millions struggling to heat their homes. But as Mr Raab replied to her answer, he quickly shot down Ms Rayner by stating the house is looked after by a board of trustees who fund the upkeep of the house out of their own resources and was not funded by the taxpayer.

Chevening House was owned by aristocrats until it was taken over by a board of trustees in 1959.

According to their website, “all costs of the house and estate are met from the Trust’s own resources arising from Lord Stanhope’s bequest”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has the power to choose who stays at the 115-room holiday home but tradition usually gives the house to the Foreign Secretary.

However, Mr Raab and Ms Truss are arguing over who gets access to the property with Mr Raab claiming because of his new role as deputy prime minister he should keep the estate.

Ms Rayner made the point during PMQs: “Families across the country are worried about heating their homes while [Dominic Raab] is complaining about having to share [Chevening House] taxpayer-funded mansion with the Foreign Secretary.

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“Truth hurts doesn’t it, just as his government are making choices which are making lives harder.”

Ms Rayner was referring to the scrapping of the £20-a-week uplift of Universal Credit just as the cost of living is expected to skyrocket thanks to energy prices.

But as Mr Raab took to his feet he quickly informed Ms Rayner to “check her facts” as Chevening House is funded by a charity and not by taxpayers.

An embarrassed Ms Rayner hid behind her mask as the Deputy Prime Minister skewered Labour’s plans of nationalising the energy companies.

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Mr Johnson spoke to reporters during his US visit about the fallout and said: “The people’s Government does not bother with fripperies and foibles of this kind.

“These types of questions, we will address in due course. But as I say, we are focused on people’s priorities.”

During PMQs, Ms Rayner also attacked Mr Raab remaining on holiday at the beginning of the Afghanistan crisis.

She told Mr Raab to “get back on his sun lounger” and said a worker on minimum wage would have to work 50 days extra a year to afford one night at a luxury hotel Mr Raab visited.

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She said: “Maybe he should get back to his sun lounger and let me take over.

“The truth is they were warned about the problems we face and the energy crisis we face – and there we have it, absolutely nothing to help the people up and down the country who are working themselves into the ground and still struggling to make ends meet.”

Ms Rayner also accused the Government of making life more difficult for working-class families by cutting universal credit and increases in other taxes.

Mr Raab also cited Ms Rayner’s own words back to her from a Guardian news article in which the deputy leader admitted the Labour Party needed to stop talking down to people as the working class does not want handouts.

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