Angela Rayner put £139 earphones on expenses

Angela Rayner
Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner tried to claim another pair of Apple earphones using taxpayer cash, it has emerged.

The deputy Labour leader billed a total of £139, the same price as a pair of second-generation AirPods, to the parliamentary expenses watchdog last year.

Ms Rayner was reimbursed the full cost of the electronics on Dec 12 when it was approved by Ipsa chiefs.

However, when contacted by The Sun newspaper on Wednesday, she decided to repay the cost of the product in full.

It is likely to spark further accusations of hypocrisy after Ms Rayner was previously forced to defend putting hundreds of pounds of Apple electronics on expenses despite regularly calling out Conservative politicians for sums incurred during government business.

She had denied her previous purchases - which included £249 worth of personalised AirPods - were "luxury" and said that she needed them for work purposes.

Her comments came after she accused Rishi Sunak of having "failed to rein in the culture of lavish spending across Whitehall" following a Labour study of ministerial spending on hotels, hospitality and other costs using taxpayer-funded debit cards.

'My equipment has to sync'

Defending her earphones purchase earlier this year, Ms Rayner said: "All of my equipment has to sync with each other so that I can carry out my work and people will understand that.

"I wouldn't say that it's luxury to have computer equipment that is everyday expenditure for somebody that works with computers every day for their job."

Labour faced a separate row over its frontbenchers' expenses earlier this week when Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, took a business class flight worth around £4,000 as part of a trip to New York.

The party had criticised government ministers for living a "five-star luxury lifestyle" of international trips and hotel stays weeks earlier.

Ms Reeves made the visit in an attempt to shore up relations with the Biden administration and leading business figures in the hope she will be in No 11 after the next election, widely expected next year.

Defending the cost of her plane ticket, she said: "To operate on the level I want to operate at I think it was appropriate to ask a donor to fund this trip so we can do it in a way that we need to and want to."

A spokesman for Ms Rayner told the Sun: "These costs have been covered privately and Ipsa has been reimbursed accordingly."

The spokesman was contacted by The Telegraph for further comment.