Starmer 'has phone records proving he worked AFTER Beergate curry'

Starmer 'has phone records proving he worked AFTER Beergate curry'

Keir Starmer claims to have phone and WhatsApp records proving he worked AFTER Beergate curry as he bets his job that Durham police won’t dare to fine him when they let Dominic Cummings off the hook

  • Labour offering to share data with the force it believes clear him of rule-breaking
  • Starmer said he would ‘do the right thing and step down’ if police fined him 
  • The party has compiled time-stamped logs from WhatsApp chats and other data 

Keir Starmer has phone records that Labour believes clear him of breaking lockdown rules because they show he went back to work after the Beergate curry being investigated by police.

In a high-stakes gamble, the opposition leader said he would ‘do the right thing and step down’ if Durham Police fined him over his lockdown beer and food with aides. 

Deputy leader Angela Rayner – who was also present – has said she too would stand down if she is fined. 

But Labour is offering to share data with the force it believes clear him of rule-breaking while campaigning in April 2021.

The party has compiled time-stamped logs from WhatsApp chats, documents and video edits, showing they carried on working after the takeaway was delivered – continuing to 1am, The Guardian reported.

A party source said: ‘We have been totally clear that no rules were broken. We will provide documentary evidence that people were working before and after stopping to have food.’

Durham Police would also face pressure it it was to fine Mr Starmer, having let off Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings off with a warning for a suspected breach of lockdown rules.

Mr Cummings was forced to make a groveling apology in the Rose Garden of No10 in May 2020 after it was revealed he drove from London to Durham the previous March during lockdown. 

But he kept his job – at least for the rest of the year – and faced no police censure. 

In a high-stakes gamble, the opposition leader said he would ‘do the right thing and step down’ if Durham Police fined him over his lockdown beer and food with aides.

Durham Police would also face pressure it it was to fine Mr Starmer, having let off Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings off with a warning for a suspected breach of lockdown rules.

Mr Cummings was forced to make a groveling apology in the Rose Garden of No10 in May 2020 after it was revealed he drove from London to Durham the previous March during lockdown.

In a dramatic statement on Monday, Sir Keir said he would do the ‘right thing’ if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice in relation to a gathering in Labour offices in Durham in April last year.

The move was seen a huge gamble, placing his future in the hands of Durham Police after it was announced last week officers would reopen an investigation into the event where Sir Keir drank beer and ate curry.

However, Labour sources are confident they can prove it was a work event and that those present were taking a break to eat while working late on preparations for the Hartlepool by-election.

Asked if the move is a high-risk strategy, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson told Sky News: ‘I think it’s the right thing to do. That’s what matters most. Keir is someone of principle, and he’s looked at this and thought he wants to be clear he’s doing the right thing.’

In his statement, Sir Keir said repeatedly no rules had been broken as he sought to contrast his actions with Boris Johnson who has refused to quit after being fined by the Met Police over a gathering in No 10 in June 2020 to mark his 56th birthday.

But having repeatedly called for Mr Johnson to go for breaking the law, many at Westminster believed he would have no choice but to fall on his sword if he was found to have done so himself.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said a resignation by Sir Keir Starmer does not mean the Prime Minister should do the same.

Asked if the Labour leader is fined and does resign, it would mean Boris Johnson should follow suit, he said: ‘Not necessarily, no.’

He told LBC: ‘Obviously in any situation where, you know, the rules were moving around, there were misunderstandings or mistakes were made, and apologies are made and they are accepted, then people of all walks of life should be able to keep their jobs.

‘But Keir Starmer has to speak for himself and set his own standards.’

In his statement Sir Keir said he believed in the the principle that ‘those who make the laws must follow them’ and that politicians who failed to do so ‘undermine our democracy’.

‘I’m absolutely clear that no laws were broken, they were followed at all times, I simply had something to eat while working late in the evening as any politician would do days before an election,’ he said.

‘But if the police decide to issue me with a fixed-penalty notice I would, of course, do the right thing and step down.’

Questions however remain over whether Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions, would stand down if police suggest he may have broken the rules but do not issue a fine, as it did with Dominic Cummings.

Pressed by reporters, he said: ‘The penalty for a Covid breach is a fixed-penalty notice, that’s a matter of law, and I’ve set out what the position is in relation to that.’

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