Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer ‘confident’ that ‘beergate’ didn’t breach lockdown rules

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Sir Keir Starmer has said he is “confident” that he did not breach lockdown rules after he was pictured having a beer and curry at a campaign event last year. The Labor leader spoke out after Durham Constabulary confirmed it was investigating claims an evening event attended by Sir Keir with other senior party figures and activists might have broken coronavirus social distancing regulations, the PA News Agency reports.

Speaking today (May 7) he said: “As I have explained a number of times, I was working in the office, we stopped for something to eat. There was no party, no breach of rules, I am confident of that.”

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A leaked memo published by the Mail on Sunday indicated that the dinner in Durham had been planned on the schedule for Sir Keir’s day of campaigning in April 2021.

The document states that there would be a “dinner in Miners Hall” with City of Durham MP Mary Foy from 8.40pm to 10pm – and a note indicates a member of staff in Sir Keir’s office was to arrange the takeaway curry from the Spice Lounge.

A spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition’s office said: “Keir was working, a takeaway was made available in the kitchen, and he ate between work demands. No rules were broken.” Timings for events frequently slip during a campaign and on the day of the curry the takeaway was late, a source said.



The Times reported a “key factor” for the police probe was confirmation that deputy leader Angela Rayner attended the evening

Speaking during a visit to Scotland, the Labor leader said: “The police have obviously got to do their job but meanwhile I am here in Scotland because we have had a fantastic set of results.”

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He also said that while he has called for Prime Minster Boris Johnson to quit after he was fined for attending a party at Westminster during lockdown, he would not be resigning. Instead he said he was focused on the next general election after his party “did really well” in the local elections.

Asked if he would be the person leading the party into the next Westminster election campaign, Sir Keir said: “I will be taking them into that general election, I am really pleased.”

His comments came after he was accused of hypocrisy by Tories, with cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi questioning why Sir Keir was not resigning after the Labor leader had called for Mr Johnson to quit while under investigation over the No 10 partygate row.

Labor allies of Sir Keir said he would be cleared by police and there was a sharp contrast between him and the Prime Minister. Durham Police said they had reversed an earlier decision on the case that no offense had been committed, after receiving “significant new information.”

Police have not said what sparked the probe but The Times reported a “key factor” was confirmation that deputy leader Angela Rayner attended the evening. Labor had previously denied she had been present.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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