Labor leader Keir Starmer and his “number two”, Angela Rayner, have avoided being fined by Durham Police for the possible breach of Covid restrictions during an event with campaign staff on April 30, 2021, baptized by the conservative media as ‘Beergate’ as a reply to Boris Johnson’s ‘Partygate’.
Both Starmer and Rayner had announced that they would resign if they were fined for the incident, in contrast to Johnson’s decision to remain in his post despite being fined €117 for his participation in his own birthday party on Downing Street during investigation by Scotland Yard.
“The police have completed their investigation and have concluded that there is no case to respond to,” Starmer wrote in a message on Twitter. “For me, it’s always been about principle and honesty. That’s what the British will get from me.”
“We have always made it clear that no rules were broken at Durham,” said Angela Rayner. “Integrity matters a great deal in politics. The contrast with the conduct of this disgraced Prime Minister could not be starker.”
The so-called ‘Beergate’ scandal has been fueled by an investigation by ‘The Daily Mail’, which published photos of Keir Starmer with a glass of beer at a meeting with his Durham staff. The Labor leadership maintained from the outset that it was “a work meeting” in the context of the special election campaign in Hartlepool, attended by Labor Mary Foy.
The police investigation has concluded that, despite the presence of 17 guests at the meeting, at a time of maximum restrictions and social distancing, it was indeed an “exception” to the rules in force at that time, considering the “reasonably necessary” business meeting.
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