Keir Starmer cleared by police over lockdown beers
Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have been cleared by police over Beergate. Durham Police conclude the Labour leader and deputy leader did not break lockdown rules in April 2021.
In a statement, the police said there was “no case to answer” citing an exemption to lockdown rules for “reasonably necessary work.”
Both Starmer and Rayner – who had been critical of the PM over Partygate – said they would resign if they were found to have broken the law.
Starmer said: “For me, this was always a matter of principle.
“Honesty and integrity matter. You will always get that from me.”
Angela Rayner said: “Integrity matters in politics. The contrast with the behaviour of this disgraced prime minister couldn’t be clearer.”
Stamer and Rayner Beergate – What happened?
On 30 April 2021 – the run-up to the Hartlepool by-election, people drank beer and ate curry in the office of MP Mary Foy.
Covid rules at the time included a ban on indoor mixing between households, but Labour argues that was food consumed between work events, meaning the gathering was within the rules.
Durham Police launched an investigation in May after receiving “significant new information” but have now concluded no rules were broken.
They would not name those present at the gathering but added no fines will be issued and no further action will be taken.
Ms Foy said she was “delighted” by the outcome, adding it was “unfortunate that the desire of some Conservative politicians has led to so much of Durham Police’s time being focused on a matter that was already investigated, especially when their resources are already under significant pressure”.
Beergate followed the highly publicised Partygate – in which the prime minister was found to have broken rules during lockdown and was fined. The PM, his wife Carrie and then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined. Over 100 fines were issued to MPs who were found to have broken the rules following a Met investigation and the damning Sue Gray report. Boris Johnson, Carrie Johnson and Rishi Sunak were the only names made public.
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