Beergate: Sir Keir Starmer withdraws from keynote as pressure mounts over claims he broke COVID rules | Politics News


Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has pulled out of a keynote speech he is due to deliver today – as pressure mounts on him over so-called ‘beergate’ demands.

After being an extremely vocal critic of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Downing Street ‘partygate’ rallies during covid lockdown, Mr Keir is now facing allegations that he too had a beer in a room with colleagues.

Sir Keir said he was working and stopping to eat when he was filmed having a drink in Durham in April last year – at a time when rules prohibited the mixing of households at home inside, apart to work.

Durham Police are now investigating the event after a leaked memo obtained by the Mail of Sunday revealed it was in fact pre-planned, contrary to Labor’s earlier claims it was decided overnight as “food served nowhere”.

The note describing the event. Pic: The Sunday Mail

And now the Institute for Government think tank has confirmed that Sir Keir pulled out of his event to discuss the ‘challenges facing the country’.

The Institute for Government announces that its event which includes a speech by Labor leader Keir Starmer has been cancelled.  Photo: Institute for Government website
The announcement of the cancellation of an event featuring a speech by Labor leader Keir Starmer. Photo: Institute for Government website

Labor has not explained why its party leader is no longer attending the rally, which was due to precede the Queen’s speech on Tuesday.

But Monday’s Daily Mail says Sir Keir is ‘scared’.

Education Minister Michelle Donelan told Sky News’ Kay Burley on Monday that if Sir Keir was fined it was up to him whether he should resign.

But she added: “What my constituents are saying is that all of this smacks of sheer hypocrisy given the relentless attention he has placed… He has to search for his soul after making it a top priority over the past few years. months to the detriment of key issues such as rising cost of living, etc…”

However, Labor’s Lisa Nandy told Sky News the Tories were simply trying to “throw mud”.

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Nandy defends Starmer against beergate

She called the Labor leader, who is a former Director of Public Prosecutions, ‘Mr Rules’ and told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘It is frankly nonsense of Tories to claim that this in any way equates to a Prime Minister who was under investigation by police for 12 separate gatherings which included karaoke nights, bring your own bottle, pub quizzes, suitcases full of wine smuggled through the back door.

“The Prime Minister lied about it, he denied they happened, denied he was there. He told the truth and he laughed it off.

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Starmer filmed drinking a beer

“I’m absolutely confident that no rules were broken, not least because it was investigated the last time the Tories tried to throw mud at us and Keir Starmer turned out completely clear.

“He’s a guy who self-isolated six times during the pandemic.”

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