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Keir Starmer claimed he was filming videos during ‘Beergate’



Sir Keir Starmer is facing further questions over what work he and his aides were doing on the evening they were pictured drinking beer during when Covid restrictions were in force.

The Labour leader has given his fullest account to date on “Beergate”, insisting that his team were working late into the evening in April last year and only stopped to eat a takeaway curry before continuing to work.

But the explanation led to more unanswered questions when he said one of the jobs had been recording “pieces to camera which we pre-record to send out at other times”.

Sir Keir’s Twitter account, where his office usually posts these “pieces to camera”, does not appear to show any of the short video clips in the weeks after April 2021 that could have been filmed during the evening.

There are videos of the Labour leader discussing last summer’s Euros championship, as well as personal messages to different faiths marking religious festivals, filmed in his Commons office or in the street during summer and autumn.

Sir Keir said that the work also involved an online event for members, but there are doubts that this would have taken place after 10pm, which is when he has suggested the takeaway was eaten.

The Labour party declined to respond when asked to provide evidence of the clips that were recorded in Durham or any other work.

Sir Keir insisted that questions over the gathering amounted to “mudslinging” by the Conservatives on the eve of the local elections.

But Labour has been accused of double standards over the row, because the leader had called for Boris Johnson’s resignation after being fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday celebration in the Cabinet room.

There has also been criticism that Labour had initially claimed deputy leader Angela Rayner was not present at the gathering before later admitting she was after video evidence emerged.

The Durham event took place in April last year, when England was under Step 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown and indoor gatherings of different households were banned.

There were exceptions to this rule, including meetings for “work purposes” as well as those “reasonably necessary for the purposes of campaigning in an election”.

In an interview with Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, Sir Keir said: “That evening, from memory, we were doing an online event for members because we had this ‘get out the vote’ thing.

“At some point, this was in the evening, everybody’s hungry and then that takeaway was ordered. It was then delivered into the kitchen of the offices.

“So this was brought in and at various points people went through the kitchen, got a plate, had some food to eat and got on with their work.”

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Conservative MP Richard Holden, who has asked Durham Police to reopen their investigation into the gathering, said: “Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner and the Labour Party keep saying one thing that falls apart until the slightest scrutiny.

“There are so many basic questions with no answer: who was there, what were they doing, what is the difference between what he was doing and what others across the country, including the Prime Minister have been fined for?

“The truth is that Keir Starmer had a late-night drinks party when he thought no one was watching and he thought he could get away with it. It’s time for Starmer to come clean and for Durham Police to investigate Starmer’s drinks party.”

Sir Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said the Durham constabulary should reconsider a probe into the allegations.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “I think they should probably just look at the new information and reconsider their situation.

“I think, once again, it highlights that a lot of the legislation around coronavirus was confused, so I think the police have been struggling with this.”



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