‘Indefensible’ lockdown breach a step too far for some
Labour MPs have begun dodging and even cancelling appearances and interviews in order to avoid having to defend Keir Starmer over his ‘beergate’ lockdown drinks, according to PoliticsJOE – with at least one MP describing Starmer’s actions as ‘indefensible’ and expressing disbelief at Starmer’s claims he broke no ‘rules’, although they were in fact laws in force at the time.
Durham Police have announced that they are re-opening an investigation into the incident after new evidence came to light – which must include the fact that the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner was also at the event and that this was denied by Labour until the party was forced into an admission by photographic evidence and tweets from the time of the gathering. One MP told the site:
If they hadn’t lied about Angela, I’d be more inclined to believe them. If I jump to defend him, I’ll look more stupid [than] the Tories.
Photos of Rayner at the event were tweeted on the same night the gathering took place and subsequently deleted.
Starmer has faced even more media pressure today because he previously said the mere fact that Boris Johnson was under investigation was enough reason for the Tory PM to resign. Now Starmer is being asked why the same does not apply now that he is under police investigation – the first opposition leader to find himself in that position.
Starmer and Labour continue to deny that any ‘rules’ were broken, even though lockdown laws and party rules in force at the time banned gatherings of more than six outdoors, mixing indoors among different households and non-essential travel such as holding a gathering in Durham while campaigning in a by-election in Hartlepool.
News of the investigation came as Starmer and some media attempted to spin his dismal day in the local elections – outshone by the Greens and LibDems and losing ground to the Tories in many areas outside London – as a success. Neither he nor Rayner are expected to resign because of the investigation, despite the desperate and obvious need for someone prominent in UK politics to show some integrity.
As well as MPs avoiding interviews, PoliticsJOE said that at least one is considering cancelling a scheduled panel show appearance to avoid being asked whether Starmer should resign.
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