Sir Keir Starmer ‘confident’ lockdown curry and beer gathering didn’t break Covid rules

Durham Constabulary is investigating claims that a party the Labor leader attended last year breached social distancing regulations in place at the time

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer pictured after Friday’s announcement that he will be investigated by police

Sir Keir Starmer says his lockdown curry and beer collection was for business purposes and did not break Covid rules.

Durham Constabulary said on Friday it was investigating allegations that an evening event the Labor leader allegedly attended last year breached pandemic social distancing regulations.

Police said they reversed an earlier decision after receiving “significant new information”. The force initially said they did not believe an offense had been committed.

Officers did not reveal what additional details sparked the investigation, but The Times reported that a “key factor” was confirmation that Deputy Chief Angela Rayner attended the party.

Sir Keir denied there was a breach of regulations


Getty Images)

But Labor had previously denied his presence.

The Daily Telegraph said the so-called “beergate” investigation will take up to six weeks, with those suspected of breaking lockdown rules expected to be given questionnaires.

Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions, told reporters in London on Friday – returning from a victory lap across the country following Labor local election successes – that he did not believe the event breached the rules.

“As I’ve explained many times, we were working in the office, we stopped for something to eat – no partying, no breaking the rules,” he said.

‘I am satisfied that no rule has been broken,’ said the Labor leader



“The police obviously have their job to do, we should let them.

“But I am satisfied that no rules were broken.”

Police have faced growing pressure in the final weeks of the local election campaign to re-examine allegations of wrongdoing by the opposition leader.

It came after footage emerged showing Sir Keir having a beer with up to 30 colleagues at a constituency office in Durham in April 2021 while campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

The Labor leader speaking during a motion of privilege over the Prime Minister’s conduct during a debate



At the time of the gathering, retail businesses and non-essential outdoor venues including pub gardens were open, but social distancing rules, which included a ban on mixing households indoors, remained in square.

Sir Keir had previously said that no restaurants or pubs were open at the time of the alleged breach, and that the hotel he and his colleagues were staying at did not serve food, so “if you haven’t taken takeout, our team wasn’t eating that night.”

Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner appeared to support Sir Keir’s argument that the event followed government guidelines in place at the time.

Mr Wagner, an expert on Covid-19 rules, told the BBC’s Newsnight: ‘What we know of the event is that it happened when local elections were about to take place. to take place.

Starmer arriving at Euston station, London, after the investigation was announced



“It was in a constituency office and the Labor Party said we had to feed people because otherwise at 10 o’clock in the evening they were not going to be able to feed them.

“And I think it seems reasonably necessary for work or voluntary service.”

But Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who has backtracked on his call for Boris Johnson’s resignation over allegations of parties being held in Downing Street during lockdowns in England, said the public would likely be ‘appalled’ by the announcement of the ‘investigation.

He accused Sir Keir and Ms Rayner on Newsnight of seeking to take the ‘moral high ground’ by calling on the Prime Minister to review the so-called Partygate saga, but ‘are now being investigated and appear to have them themselves broke the rules”.

In January, Sir Keir said the Prime Minister ‘must do the decent thing and step down’ after he was embroiled in allegations of breaching the lockdown.

Ms Rayner also questioned Mr Johnson’s suitability as Prime Minister, writing on Twitter: ‘Boris Johnson’s Downing Street is under police investigation, how the hell can he think he can stay Prime Minister ?”

Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are among those who have already been fined for breaking Covid laws.

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