Keir Starmer is forced to deny being a Covid hypocrite in Beergate grilling by TV’s Loose Women as he reveals he knew ‘in my heart’ he had to make resignation pledge when police launched probe
- Sir Keir Starmer again insists he did not break Covid rules over his boozy curry
- The Labour leader is ready to resign if he’s fined by police over the Durham event
- He tells Loose Women he has ‘put everything on the line’ during TV grilling
Sir Keir Starmer today denied being a Covid hypocrite over his Beergate row as the Labour leader appeared on daytime TV’s Loose Women.
In a grilling over his boozy curry in Durham last year, Sir Keir again insisted he had not broken Coronavirus rules.
Police are currently investigating allegations of a lockdown breach in relation to the Friday night gathering in April 2021.
Sir Keir was pictured sipping a beer as he shared a takeaway with colleagues at what Labour have repeatedly insisted was a ‘work event’.
The Labour leader has made a major gamble on his political future by promising to quit as head of his party, should he be fined by Durham Police for breaking Covid rules.
He today told Loose Women how he had ‘put everything on the line’ by pledging to resign if he receives a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Sir Keir described how he knew ‘in my heart’ he had to make his resignation vow once the police probe was announced.
And he again sought to draw a difference between his own allegations of lockdown-breaking and Boris Johnson’s Partygate scandal.
The Prime Minister last month batted away calls to resign from Opposition parties and some Tory MPs after he was slapped with a police fine over his 56th birthday bash in Number 10 in June 2020.
Sir Keir Starmer today told Loose Women how he had ‘put everything on the line’ by pledging to resign if he receives a Fixed Penalty Notice
The Labour leader was pictured sipping a beer as he shared a takeaway with colleagues in April last year at what Labour have repeatedly insisted was a ‘work event’
‘I have said that if the police do issue a fixed-penalty notice I will do the right thing and I will step down’, the Labour leader told the ITV programme.
‘I have put everything on the line because I think that that is the right thing to do.
‘That is the complete opposite to the Prime Minister.’
Sir Keir was quizzed on why he had not already resigned over the Durham Police investigation, when he had previously called for the PM to resign for being subject to a police probe.
The Labour leader insisted the announcement of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman investigation into Number 10 lockdown breaches had been a ‘completely different situation’.
‘By then we already knew that there was industrial scale rule-breaking in Downing Street,’ the Labour leader said.
‘We had had so many examples, including the example of the wheelbarrow of booze coming in, the suitcases coming in, on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, so it was a completely different situation.’
A recent poll revealed that almost two-thirds of voters (63 per cent) think that Sir Keir is a hypocrite for attacking the PM for breaching Covid rules when he may have commited a similar infringement himself.
The Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey for the Sun on Sunday also found more than half (56 per cent) thought Sir Keir definitely or probably did break lockdown rules over the Durham curry.
And 61 per cent said if the Labour leader does quit over Beergate, then Mr Johnson must go too.
Sir Keir said he was ‘sure’ that police would find he didn’t break Covid restrictions.
Told that it was not up to him to decide whether he had broken the rules or not, the Labour leader replied: ‘I know that.
‘But my instinct, as soon as I knew that Durham (police) had decided they were going to reopen its investigation, in my heart I knew what I was going to say, which is: “If I’m wrong and they’ve found I have broken the law then I’ll do the right thing and step down”.’
He added: ‘I hope that isn’t going to happen, I don’t think it is going to happen.
‘But I’m trying to make the bigger point here because there are allegations about who did what when. But there is a bigger picture, which is trust in politics.’
Sir Keir claimed his pledge to resign was motivated by an attempt to maintain ‘honour and integrity’ in British politics.
He said: ‘The number of times I hear: “You’re all the same, you won’t do the right thing”.
‘I think trust is everything in politics. I have put everything on the line for that honour and that integrity because I don’t believe all politicians are the same.
‘It is important we don’t sink into this where everybody thinks all politicians are the same, because then people lose trust in democracy and think: “Why should I vote if you’re all the same?”
‘This is actually not just about these particular allegations for me. It is actually about who I am as a politician.
‘I came into politics later in life having done other things, I came in to make a difference, and I want to show that we’re not all the same.’
The Labour leader has repeatedly insisted he and his colleagues returned to their duties after sharing a takeaway and beers in Durham in the run-up to local council elections and the Hartlepool by-election.
He told Loose Women that ‘every campaigning politician’ would have been in a similar situation where they have shared food with others while on the road.
At the time of the Durham event, England was in the ‘Step 2’ rules that banned people from gathering indoors with people not from your own household.
However, there was an exemption for ‘work purposes’.
It has been reported that Durham Police will this begin contacting 15 people who attended the gathering on 30 April last year.
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