Labour’s Keir Starmer pledges to resign if he is fined for Covid breach 

Beergate: Keir Starmer pledges to resign if he is fined - a look at how the media reacted to the announcement from Starmer and Rayner.

Beergate: Labour’s Keir Starmer pledges to resign if he is fined for Covid breach 

Labour leader Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner have pledged to resign if they are fined for breaching Covid rules by taking part in a gathering in Durham last year in which he and other party activists ate takeaway food and drank beer.

Keir Starmer vows to quit if he's fined over Beergate

Rayner was also in attendance at the event and has said she too will step down if she is found to have broken the rules by Durham police, who last week started a new investigation into the event – which happened on 30 April 2021. 

Starmer said he was determined to prove he had “different principles to the prime minister”, who has already been issued with a fixed-penalty notice for breaching lockdown rules in Downing Street.

Starmer strongly believes he did not break any rules.

“The idea that I would casually break the rules is wrong. I don’t think those who are accusing me of it believe it themselves … They are trying to say all politicians are the same.”

In a statement at Labour HQ, he said: “If the police decide to issue me with a FPN, I would of course do the right thing and step down … The British public deserve politicians who think the rules apply to them.”

Keir Starmer has criticised PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak for not stepping down after they both received fines for being at a lockdown-breaking party in June 2020.

How the UK news covered Starmer’s pledge

The papers took their sides this morning – which Labour-leaning papers claiming Starmer has done the right thing by pledging to resign if he is found to have broken rules. Whilst right-leaning papers call his announcement a desperate move intended to apply pressure on the police into dropping the investigation. 

Most papers call the move from Starmer and Rayner a ‘gambling’ of their political careers. 

Daily Mirror- This is what honour looks like, Mr Johnson

The Guardian and the Times report that Labour has prepared evidence to show police that the gathering that is under investigation was a permitted work event. 

The Guardian goes on to say the clear calculation behind his statement is that this makes him look bold and will win him praise for being decisive. 

According to the Financial Times, Labour leader Starmer sought advice from senior figures within his party before he made the pledge and he remains confident that he didn’t break any rules. In its editorial, it claims “Keir Starmer’s gamble could be the making of him — as long as it works” – saying he’s struggled to define himself. 

The Daily Mail takes an entirely different approach. The paper accuses Starmer of ‘putting pressure on police’ who now know that their decisions could end Starmer’s leadership. 

Similarly, the Sun describes the announcement from Starmer as a desperate and outrageous attempt to stong-arm police into clearing him. 

But over at the Daily Mirror, they approach the story by contrasting Starmer’s move with the prime minister’s refusal to go after he was fined. The paper’s headline reads: “This is what honour looks like, Mr Johnson”. 

The i says Starmer is gambling his career on being cleared, whilst also reporting Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner will also step down if she is issued with a fixed penalty notice for the same event. 

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