Durham Constabulary Will Investigate Whether Keir Starmer's Lockdown Beer Broke Guidance
Durham Constabulary has confirmed it will investigate Keir Starmer over allegations the Labour leader broke lockdown guidance when he drank a beer and ate a takeaway with colleagues.
The force has previously said it did not believe Starmer broke lockdown rules when he consumed a curry and alcohol at the constituency office of Labour MP Mary Foy at around 10pm on April 30 2021 while campaigning during the Hartlepool byelection.
At the time most indoor social gatherings were banned.
However, following the receipt of "significant new information over recent days" and mounting pressure from Conservative MPs, the force has confirmed it will now look into the event, which was captured in a 43 second video filmed by a member of the public.
A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: "Earlier this year, Durham Constabulary carried out an assessment as to whether Covid-19 regulation had been breached at a gathering in Durham City on April 30 2021. At the time, it was concluded that no offence had been established and therefore no further action would be taken.
"Following the receipt of significant new information over recent days, Durham Constabulary has reviewed that position and now, following the conclusion of the pre-election period, we can confirm that an investigation into potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations relating to this gathering is now being conducted."
On Friday afternoon, Starmer remained resolute in his position that he had not broken lockdown rules.
"As I've explained a number of times, we were working in the office, we stopped for something to eat," Starmer said.
"No party, no breach of the rules. The police have obviously got their job to do and we should let them get on with it, but I'm confident that no rules were broken."
A Labour spokesperson said: "We’re obviously happy to answer any questions there are and we remain clear that no rules were broken."
Starmer has consistently denied that the gathering, in which several party officials were present, breached lockdown rules.
The Labour leader said the dinner constituted a break from work and took place in Foy’s office because no restaurants or pubs were open.
Starmer has also previously claimed the Radisson Blu hotel in Durham, where he was staying, was not serving dinner. However, the Mail on Sunday has reported the hotel restaurant was in fact serving food on its outdoor terrace until 9pm on the date in question.
The Labour leader, and wider party, have been vocal critics of the Downing Street partygate scandal, with Starmer calling for both the Chancellor and Prime Minister to resign over the fines they received from the Metropolitan Police for breaching lockdown rules during a birthday celebration for Boris Johnson.
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