Rayner and Dowden Clash in PMQs Amid Controversy Over Sunak's Wife's Housing Firm Stake

Heated PMQs session as Labour's Rayner and Tory's Dowden clash over Sunak's wife's housing firm stake and government's housing record. Renters Reform Bill delays also discussed.

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Ebenezer Mensah
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Rayner and Dowden Clash in PMQs Amid Controversy Over Sunak's Wife's Housing Firm Stake

Rayner and Dowden Clash in PMQs Amid Controversy Over Sunak's Wife's Housing Firm Stake

In a heated Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) session on Wednesday, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden stood in for their respective party leaders, Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak. The session was marked by sharp exchanges between the two, as controversy swirled around Sunak's wife's stake in a housing firm with council contracts.

Rayner wasted no time in going on the offensive, accusing Dowden of "stabbing" former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the back to get his "mate" Sunak into No. 10 Downing Street. She also criticized the government's housing record and accused ministers of delaying justice on no-fault evictions in the rented sector.

Dowden countered by suggesting that Rayner should step down, citing her living arrangements and the 2015 sale of her Stockport council house. Rayner, however, maintained that she would "do the right thing and step down" if found to have committed a crime.

The two also clashed over the government's plans to reform leasehold, the West Midlands mayoral election, and former Prime Minister Liz Truss's new book, which Rayner accused Truss of promoting on a "twisted victory lap."

Why this matters: The heated exchange between Rayner and Dowden highlights the ongoing political tensions and controversies surrounding the current government. The issue of Sunak's wife's stake in a housing firm with council contracts raises questions about potential conflicts of interest at the highest levels of government.

Meanwhile, Sunak is on a visit to Germany, where he held a joint press conference with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and praised Germany for increasing its defense spending. The Public and Commercial Services union has accused the government of scapegoating public servants and plans to fight proposed civil service job cuts "tooth and nail."

The Renters Reform Bill, which aims to ban no-fault evictions, has faced delays due to concerns from some Conservative backbenchers, including landlords. Rayner highlighted the case of Natalie, who has been served two Section 21 notices in 18 months, and accused the government of caving into vested interests and delaying justice for renters.

Key Takeaways

  • Heated PMQs session between Labour's Rayner and Tory's Dowden
  • Controversy over Sunak's wife's stake in housing firm with council contracts
  • Rayner accused Dowden of backstabbing to get Sunak into power
  • Dowden criticized Rayner's living arrangements, she said she'd step down if found guilty
  • Renters Reform Bill faces delays due to concerns from Tory backbenchers