The Telegraph 2024-05-28 16:00:44


Police share information on Angela Rayner two-home row with HMRC

Greater Manchester Police has shared information about its investigation into Angela Rayner with HMRC.

In a statement, GMP said that matters involving council tax and personal tax did not fall into its “jurisdiction”.

It said it had instead shared information about the investigation with Stockport Council and HMRC.

The force said it would be taking no further action against the Labour deputy leader.

Police were investigating whether Ms Rayner wrongly declared her permanent address on the electoral roll, which is a criminal offence. The question of where she was living is crucial to determining whether she owed any tax, and if she committed electoral fraud.

Ms Rayner has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, describing the claims against her as a “stream of smears” by the Tories.

She had promised to resign if she was found to have broken the law.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “Following allegations about Angela Rayner MP, Greater Manchester Police has completed a thorough, carefully considered and proportionate investigation.  We have concluded that no further police action will be taken. 

“The investigation originated from complaints made by Mr James Daly MP directly to GMP. Subsequent further contact with GMP by members of the public, and claims made by individuals featured in media reporting, indicated a strong public interest in the need for allegations to be investigated.

“Matters involving council tax and personal tax do not fall into the jurisdiction of policing. GMP has liaised with Stockport Council and information about our investigation has been shared with them. Details of our investigation have also been shared with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).”

This is a breaking news story and is being updated

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BBC apologises to Farage after calling his language ‘inflammatory’

The BBC has apologised to Nigel Farage over an impartiality breach after accusing him of using “customary inflammatory language”.

Geeta Guru-Murthy made the remark as the channel cut away from the honorary Reform UK president’s press conference about migration in Dover.

In his speech, Mr Farage had defended his use of the term “invasion” to describe Channel crossings, saying a “trickle” of illegal migrants had become a “flood” and that a “large influx of young males” had had “disastrous” effects in the Swedish city of Malmo.

The former Ukip leader was talking about Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, referring to “aggressive young males that are coming into Poland” when the news channel cut away. 

Ms Guru-Murthy then said: “Nigel Farage with his customary inflammatory language there at a Reform UK press conference. He declined to stand for a seat. But we will have more on what Farage is saying. If you want to follow it more, just follow the QR code.”

Two hours later, she told viewers: “Now, an apology. Earlier today we heard live from Nigel Farage, speaking at that election event we just saw.

“When we came away from his live speech, I used language to describe it which didn’t meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality. I’d like to apologise to Mr Farage and viewers for this.”

Ms Guru-Murthy is the older sister of Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the Channel 4 News presenter. After calling for an apology from her in the wake of the remarks, Mr Farage told The Telegraph: “Victory.”

In 2022, Mr Guru-Murthy was briefly taken off air after calling Tory MP Steve Baker a “c—” in an audio clip that was circulated after the exchange. He subsequently apologised for the comment. 

In March, the BBC apologised to Reform UK after describing it as “far-Right” in a news report. The corporation made the claim in an item about the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference, in which it referred to Reform surging ahead of Sir Ed Davey’s party in the opinion polls.

Mr Farage has long advocated for the abolition of the BBC licence fee, and his battles with the corporation predate the Brexit referendum.

Last week, he announced that he would not stand as a candidate for Reform at the July 4 election, arguing that he would be more effective if able to travel across the country campaigning at the same time as Richard Tice, the party leader.

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Live General election 2024: Starmer and Reeves take questions on campaign visit – watch live

Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are taking questions on a campaign visit to Hertfordshire after a TV debate was agreed between the Labour leader and Rishi Sunak.

  • General election 2024 polls

Follow the latest updates and join the conversation in the comments here

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Semi-pro footballers ran £260m cocaine gang out of warehouses

A gang of semi-pro footballers ran an operation planning to supply £260 million of cocaine out of warehouses, police said.

The group were sentenced to more than 104 years at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and ketamine.

Detectives found that between April 10 and Oct 20 2022 the group had conspired to supply in excess of 2.7 tonnes of high-grade cocaine with an estimated street value of more than £260 million.

Officers stopped Luke Skeete, 36, in October 2022 as he drove a small panel van and discovered 8kg of cocaine in the vehicle. His arrest brought down a gang of criminals like “house of cards”, police said.

A video recovered from a car involved in a drug deal showed Skeete from West Drayton, west London, parking up in his white van and passing over a holdall of drugs.

He was arrested and a further 123kg of cocaine and 224kg of ketamine were recovered from storage units in west London he had control of.

During the investigation, Skeete’s phone was seized and sent for specialist interrogation. Officers found a secure messaging platform and began examining the users.

They found each had an individual handle to conceal their true identities and evade police. The group chats demonstrated and evidenced a sophisticated, professional business model the group were operating to supply cocaine through the UK.

Detectives also analysed CCTV footage which showed the gang coming and going from the storage unit with drugs in holdalls and boxes.

Police Con Perry, from Specialist Crime North, said: “The operation we’ve dismantled here is not some minor undertaking, involving a group of chancers – this is a highly organised criminal group who were supplying drugs on an industrial scale throughout the UK.

“The sentences received reflect the gravity of what they had been doing. This is a criminal group who had otherwise promising careers – semi-pro footballers with other jobs and courses they were undertaking – but they were motivated by making money from drugs that fuel misery and violence on our streets.

“Anyone else wondering if they can make cash from this type of activity should take a look at these sentences and think again because it’s only a matter of time before you are caught.”

Specialist Crime officers carried out arrests across London and Birmingham on Sep 28 last year.

Adam Pepara, 35, who has captained Worcestershire-based football team Evesham United was jailed for 29 years, reduced to 24 years.

Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, 29, who played for Chesham United, Buckinghamshire, was jailed for 26 years and six months reduced to 18 years and nine months.

Jamarl Joseph, 28, was jailed for 26 years and six months reduced to 17 years and six months. He previously played for Chalfont St Peter AFC in Buckinghamshire and FK Senica in Slovakia.

Harrow Borough FC’s Andrew Harewood, 34, was jailed for 24 years and six months reduced to 16 years and one month.

Margate FC’s Melchi Emanuel-Williamson, 29, was jailed for 21 years and six months reduced to 14 years.

Luke Skeete, 36, was jailed for 22 years and six months reduced to 13 years and one month.

Skeete had previously been jailed for 15 years at the same court in July 2023 having pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply ketamine, supplying cocaine, and driving while disqualified.

Det Con Janes, from Specialist Crime North, said: “With Skeete’s arrest we brought this house of cards down.

“After he was detained we secured valuable evidence on his mobile phone, helping us launch another investigation that led to us identifying his conspirators.

“Forensic examination of that device and invaluable CCTV evidence helped us compile a case so compelling that none of them had any choice but to plead guilty.”

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Watch dealer found dead day after robbers placed him in chokehold

A watch dealer found dead less than 36 hours after two robbers attacked him in a jewellery store raid has been named locally as Oliver White.

Paying tribute to White on social media, his girlfriend Alana Dredge, shared the last photo the couple took together at a pool bar from a fortnight previously.

Sharing a post on Instagram, Ms Dredge wrote: “The last thing you said to me was I love you. I will cherish you forever, being with you was the best six years of my life.”

White was working at 247 Kettles in Richmond, southwest London, on Saturday afternoon, when two unarmed assailants entered the store at around 2.50pm.

One placed him in a chokehold before the pair made off with several high-value watches.

While White’s injuries were not serious, he was found dead in Shepperton, north Surrey, after police received reports of concerns for his safety at around 8.15pm the next day. His death is not believed to be suspicious.

White’s LinkedIn profile states that he was a sales manager at 247 Kettles.

Ms Dredge said she would “continue” to make her partner proud, adding: “I keep sending you [WhatsApps] hoping this is all a nightmare and you’ll reply.

“I don’t know how I’ll do my life without you, my whole world has ended. My life will never be the same again, I can’t explain how much I love you.”

A Surrey Police spokesman said: “Officers were called to Sheepwalk Road in Shepperton on Sunday May 26 shortly after 8.15pm following a report of a concern for safety at the location.

“A man in his 20s was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin are aware and are being supported. Enquiries are still ongoing, but his death is not thought to be suspicious.”

Images of the two suspects involved in the incident show one had a distinct neck tattoo.

A Met Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the death of a man in Surrey on May 26. This is being investigated by officers from Surrey Police and is not being treated as suspicious at this time.

“The man who died was the victim of a robbery at a jeweller in Richmond on May 25.

“We ask that the privacy of his family is respected at this difficult time and moving CCTV footage of the incident involving the victim is not shared on social media.”

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