The Labor leader is under investigation by police over the ‘Beergate’ allegations after the force received ‘significant new information’.
Sir Keir Starmer has announced he will resign as Labor leader if police find he has broken Covid rules.
The Labor leader made a televised statement after it was revealed that police were investigating him over the “Beergate” allegations on Friday after receiving “significant” new information.
Sir Keir was under pressure to explain his position after calling for the resignation of Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak after they were fined for breaching Covid.
During his speech, he said he believes in “honor and integrity,” saying, “If the police decide to issue me a ticket, obviously I would do the right thing and resign.”
He was scheduled to speak at an Institute for Government discussion but backed out on Sunday, with Labor not explaining why other than saying “plans are changing”.
Sir Keir also did not attend a memorial service for former MP James Brokenshire at St Margaret’s Church in Westminster, where he was expected to join politicians from across the divide, including the Prime Minister and cabinet members.
New questions raised after leaked memo
The Labor leader faced calls to answer fresh questions after a leaked memo indicated beer and curry in Durham was planned as part of his April 2021 campaign day itinerary and no further work was planned after dinner .
Labor said the food was consumed between work events, meaning it complied with the rules despite the ban on indoor socializing.
Friday’s announcement that Sir Keir would be investigated marked a U-turn after pressure mounted on the force to re-investigate the “Beergate” allegations after footage emerged of the Labor leader allegedly showing up having a beer with 30 colleagues at a constituency office in Durham in April 2021 during campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.
At the time of the gathering, non-essential retail and outdoor areas, including outdoor dining areas, were open, but social distancing rules, which included a ban on households mixing indoors, remained in place.
Durham Police had been asked by Conservative MP Richard Holden of North West Durham to reconsider their assessment that no crime was committed during the meeting.
Sir Keir previously said that no restaurants or pubs were open at the time of the alleged breach, so “if you didn’t get takeaway food, our team didn’t eat that night”.
Labor has indicated that the meal was not a social event as Sir Keir was working.
Sir Keir, a former chief prosecutor, told reporters on Saturday: “As I have explained several times, I was working in the office, we stopped to eat.
“There was no party, no breaking of the rules, I’m confident.”