Advisers discussing complete u-turn on Starmer’s promise to step down if fined, according to close sources
Keir Starmer has again failed to deny that he has been fined by Durham Constabulary over his part in the ‘beergate’ lockdown event in Durham – or that he and his advisers are discussing an ‘I’ll go if Johnson goes’ line that represents a complete u-turn on his promise, to alleviate growing pressure on his position in May, that he would resign if he received a fine over the incident.
Well-placed sources have claimed that Starmer – and his deputy Angela Rayner – have now accepted fines that Starmer did not deny had been issued when approached for comment by Skwawkbox last week, but that Starmer’s team is frantically trying to decide on a line that would not involve him resigning, with the current favourite being ‘I’ll quit if Johnson does’.
The prolonged refusal of Durham Police to issue a clear statement on the matter, meanwhile, is causing considerable confusion among Westminster lobby journalists, one of whom earlier today claimed that the Crown Prosecution Service was involved. The claim was later retracted.
Skwawkbox approached both Mr Starmer and Ms Rayner by text message earlier today to ask whether they would confirm or deny that they have received and accepted fines, or that the planned line was to put the onus on Johnson to go first. Neither had responded by well after the expiry of the deadline.
Labour’s national executive has today scheduled ‘piles’ of expulsion letters to go out this week, potentially a measure to further secure a right-wing victory in any leadership election.
And the breaking news that both Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have quit Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, presumably a precursor to a leadership bid if the Tories’ 1922 Committee decides Johnson is done, may well call Starmer’s bluff if he does pursue the ‘go if he goes’ tactic.
Keir Starmer has now twice failed to deny the issuing of a fine despite being approached directly. How he and his team might think they would ride out the storm that would follow the u-turn, or win an election after giving the Tories such a ready-made campaign, is anyone’s guess.
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