Jacob Rees Mogg Suggests Keir Starmer Should Not Have To Resign Over Beergate

The cabinet minister said he did not believe breaking lockdown rules was serious enough for the Labour leader to use his job.
Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency in the Cabinet Office Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency in the Cabinet Office Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Andrew Matthews via PA Wire/PA Images

Keir Starmer should not have to resign if he is fined for breaking lockdown rules, Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested.

The Brexit opportunities minister said the beergate affair was “in the same category of seriousness” as the partygate scandal, which he has previusly described as “fluff”.

Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party has been thrown into crisis after Durham Constabulary confirmed they were re-investigating whether he broke covid regulations in April, 2021, by having curry and beer with colleagues.

He has previously called on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, who were both handed fixed penalty notices by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday party in 10 Downing Street during lockdown, to resign.

Some Tories have said Starmer should show consistency and quit if he, too, ended up being fined.

Interviewed on Channel 4’s The Andrew Neil Show, Rees-Mogg said: “The difficulty for Sir Keir is he said – before any result of any investigation – that the Prime Minister should resign.

“Which sets a rather high standard and I think the issue for him is one of judgment.”

Asked if Sir Keir should quit if he was found to have broken the law, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I think he should pay a fine and then talk about the issues of great importance to the nation.”

Speaking on Friday, 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.”

The row has reignited bitter divisions in the Labour Party, amid claims a disgruntled former aide had directly contradicted Starmer’s version of events in the Sunday Times.

Shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy has insisted Starmer did not break lockdown rules.

She said: “This is a guy who’s self isolated six times during the pandemic, I don’t know a single other person who did that.

He is Mr Rules, he does not not break the rules, he was the director of public prosecutions, not somebody who goes around tearing up rules when it suits him, in stark contrast to the prime minister.”


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