Police Launch Investigation Into Whether Keir Starmer Broke Lockdown Rules

Labour leader under pressure over footage of him drinking a beer in Durham last April.
Danny Lawson - PA Images via Getty Images

Durham Police have announced they will launch an investigation into whether Keir Starmer broke lockdown rules in the so-called beergate row following “significant new information”.

The Labour leader has come under pressure since footage emerged of him drinking a beer with colleagues in April 2021 in Durham, during campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

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

Boris Johnson has already been issued a fine by police for breaking his own lockdown laws.

But Durham police have been asked by Conservative MP Richard Holden to reconsider their initial assessment that no offence was committed by Starmer.

Starmer has said no rules were broken as it was just a short break for a meal during work.

In a statement, the force said: “Earlier this year, Durham Constabulary carried out an assessment as to whether Covid-19 regulations had been breached at a gathering in Durham City on April 30 2021.

“At that 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.”

Starmer said: “As I’ve explained a number of times, we were working in the office, we stopped for something to eat. No party, no breach of the rules.

“The police obviously have got their job to do. We should let them get on with it but I’m confident no rules were broken.”

Durham Police made the announcement as results of Thursday’s local elections continued to roll in.

Johnson admitted the Tories endured a “tough night” after suffering a string of council losses but dismissed calls for him to quit.

The prime minister said that he took full responsibility for the results as Labour strengthened its grip on London and the Liberal Democrats also made gains at the Conservatives’ expense.


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