Labour’s Starmer Avoids Criminal Charges over Lockdown Beer Gathering

Police have confirmed that they do not believe Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer broke Chinese coronavirus lockdown rules after a picture emerged of the left-wing opposition leader drinking a beer in a Durham MPs office last year.

The Durham Constabulary said on Monday that they will not be bringing criminal action against Sir Kier Starmer over an alleged breach of lockdown restrictions in April of 2021.

“Durham Constabulary has reviewed video footage recorded in Durham on 30 April 2021,” a spokesman said per Sky News.

“We do not believe an offence has been established in relation to the legislation and guidance in place at that time and will therefore take no further action in relation to this matter.”

In January, the leader of the left-wing party refused to apologise after an image emerged of him drinking a beer in the office ahead of the Hartlepool by-election. When the picture was taken, people in England were banned from being indoors with people outside of their household except for work.

Starmer was branded a “hypocrite” over the incident, coming as it did after he made political hay over the alleged boozy breaches of lockdowns by the government in Number 10 Downing Street, calling for Boris Johnson’s resignation.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sir Keir said he was “clear throughout that no rules were broken”.

Explaining the supposed difference between his actions and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sir Keir said last month: “We were working, a takeaway turned up, and we stopped to eat it. We didn’t break any rules, we did nothing wrong.”

Starmer has repeatedly insisted there is no equivalence between him drinking with work colleagues and the Prime Minister drinking with colleagues, at least in part because Johnson has been caught more often.

Though Starmer has been cleared by the police, the Metropolitan Police in London are still carrying out an investigation into numerous gatherings in Downing Street over alleged breaches of the government’s own lockdown rules.

The Met is said to be in possession of over 300 images and over 500 pages of information relating to the alleged parties.

On top of calls to resign from Starmer and the left, Mr Johnson has so far seen 14 Members of Parliament from within his own Conservative Party call for him to step down. Five of Johnson’s aids in Number 10 have also tendered their resignations in protest against the government on matters directly or tangentially related to the scandals.

On Friday, Tory MPs Nick Gibb and Aaron Bell both added their names to the list of MPs who have submitted letters of no confidence in the PM.

The movement to oust the Prime Minister is may be far from meeting the threshold to trigger a vote, however, with 54 letters from Conservative MPs currently being required for 1922 chairman Graham Brady to bring forward a vote on his leadership.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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