Diane Abbott: Starmer should ‘consider position’ if fined for ‘Beergate’ | Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott said Keir Starmer should ‘consider his position’ if he is fined by police for breaking lockdown rules by having a beer and takeaway with staff during the election campaign last year.

Abbott, who served as Home Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, told LBC: ‘I don’t think he will – I think that’s a lot of hype created by the press conservative. But if he were to get a fixed penalty notice, he would have to think about his position.

“I’m a staunch supporter of Keir Starmer, I’m just making the common sense point that if he gets a fixed penalty notice he should think about his position.”

A longtime Corbyn loyalist, Abbott, who is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, has been largely relegated to the backbench since Starmer became Labor leader in April 2020.

Starmer said on Saturday he was satisfied he had broken no rules. “As I’ve explained many times, I was working in the office, we stopped for something to eat,” he said. “There was no party, no breach of the rules, I’m sure of that.”

However, a leaked memo published by the Mail on Sunday said the curry enjoyed by Starmer and colleagues in April 2021 was scheduled ahead of the day’s campaign schedule, and no other work was scheduled. was listed after dinner.

Lawyer and Covid rules expert Adam Wagner said on Twitter he didn’t think it changed Labour’s defence. “The fact that it was pre-arranged with social distancing guidelines makes it more likely to be reasonably necessary, not less,” he said.

Starmer’s allies spoke up in defense of him on Saturday. Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary Wes Streeting told the BBC he would “not accept” the prospect of Starmer resigning over the alleged breach of lockdown rules.

“I have absolute faith and confidence that Keir Starmer did the right thing throughout the process,” he said. “He maintained that all along. He’s someone who practices what he preaches, and as I said, the police have already looked into this and found no cases to answer.

“We are confident that will be the case this time around. I think the contrast between Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson will be even sharper because I think it’s ridiculous, in fact after all we’ve seen Boris Johnson is still around and Tory MPs haven’t fired Boris Johnson.

When asked if Starmer would resign if he had broken the law, Welsh shadow secretary Jo Stevens told Times Radio: ‘I think if we get to this situation – which I think , is extremely unlikely on the basis that Durham Police have already investigated this complaint and found that no rules were broken – I’m sure Keir will issue a statement at that time.

Starmer insisted there was ‘no party’ and ‘no rules were broken’ after footage emerged of him having a beer with colleagues at a constituency office in Durham in April 2021 while campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

At the time of the gathering, lockdown rules included a ban on indoor mixing between households.

Following the conclusion of local elections on Thursday, Durham Constabulary announced they would launch an investigation into whether the rules had been broken in April 2021 after receiving “significant new information”.

This was a reversal from an earlier decision in the case, which found no offense had been committed.

Earlier this year, Starmer said Johnson “must do the decent thing and resign” after the Metropolitan Police began investigating alleged lockdown breaches in Downing Street.

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