Keir Starmer wins reprieve after police ‘Beergate’ probe

Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner will not be fined for allegedly breaking Covid rules at a campaign event in April last year — an issue they had staked their political careers on.

Durham police have investigated the Labour leader and his deputy over allegations that restrictions were breached when beer and curry was consumed at the party event.

Starmer and Rayner had said they would resign from their posts if issued with fixed penalty notices, by contrast with Boris Johnson, who was penalised over a gathering in Downing Street. The prime minister refused to resign over that issue, but was finally pushed out as Conservative leader by a ministerial revolt this week.

Starmer and Rayner consistently argued that no restrictions were broken in the so-called “Beergate” scandal, since the food and drink came during a work event.

In a statement, the Durham Constabulary said “there is no case to answer for a contravention of the regulations, due to the application of an exception, namely reasonably necessary work”.

It added that, after a “thorough, detailed and proportionate” investigation it would “not be issuing any fixed penalty notices in respect of the gathering and no further action will be taken.”

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