Keir Starmer will not be fined over alleged Covid rule breach

Starmer said he would resign as Labour leader if he was fined.

Labour leader Keir Starmer will not be fined over alleged Covid rule breach, police confirm STV News

Keir Starmer will not be fined over alleged lockdown rule-breaking, police have confirmed.

The Labour leader had insisted he would resign if he was found to have broken rules put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner will also not be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Following the announcement, Starmer insisted that “honesty and integrity” matter.

“I’ve always said no rules were broken when I was in Durham,” he wrote on Twitter.

“The police have completed their investigation and agreed: there is no case to answer.  

“For me, this was always a matter of principle. Honesty and integrity matter.

“You will always get that from me.”

Sir Keir was videoed in April 2021 drinking a bottle of beer over a takeaway curry with colleagues in the offices of MP Mary Foy ahead of the Hartlepool by-election.

It later emerged Rayner was also at the gathering, dubbed “beergate” by some.

At the time, 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.

Durham Police initially investigated and found there was no evidence of rule-breaking, but looked at the case again following the intervention of North West Durham Tory MP Richard Holden in April.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have always been clear that no rules were broken in Durham.

“The police have completed their investigation and have agreed saying that there is no case to answer.”

The Labour leader previously stated his confidence that no rules were broken.

Durham Police said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner have not been issued with fixed penalty notices over allegations they broke coronavirus rules during campaigning for the local elections in April 2021.

A Durham Police statement said that the investigation had been “thorough, detailed and proportionate”.

“Following the emergence of significant new information, an investigation was launched by Durham Constabulary into a gathering at the Miners’ Hall, in Redhills, Durham on April 30 2021. That investigation has now concluded,” it read.

“A substantial amount of documentary and witness evidence was obtained which identified the 17 participants and their activities during that gathering. Following the application of the evidential Full Code Test, it has been concluded that there is no case to answer for a contravention of the regulations, due to the application of an exception, namely reasonably necessary work.

“Accordingly, Durham Constabulary will not be issuing any fixed penalty notices in respect of the gathering and no further action will be taken.

“The investigation has been thorough, detailed and proportionate. The final evidence supplied by participants from the local constituency was returned to Durham Police on July 5 and analysed by investigators against all the evidence before the investigation was concluded on July 8 2022.

“In line with established national policing guidelines, we will not name or otherwise identify any of those present at the gathering, all of whom have been informed of the investigation outcome by their legal representatives.”

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