Sir Keir Starmer: Labour leader faces police investigation over COVID gatheringComments
Durham Police are conducting an investigation into a Labour Party gathering that was held amid COVID-19 restrictions, police confirmed to Euronews.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been alleged to have broken lockdown rules at a gathering at an MP's constituency office in April 2021.
Photographs of Starmer speaking with party workers with a beer in his hand were released in the British press.
“Earlier this year, Durham Constabulary carried out an assessment as to whether Covid-19 regulations had been breached at a gathering in Durham City on April 30 2021," a spokesman for Durham Constabulary said.
"At that time, it was concluded that no offence had been established and therefore no further action would be taken."
But following the "receipt of significant new information over recent days", police are now confirming that "an investigation into potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations relating to this gathering is now being conducted”.
At the time, household mixing was banned indoors in England. Political campaigners were meant to prioritise outdoor meetings.
The guidelines also said that activities in committee rooms "should be functional and not social" ahead of the May 2021 election.
"We’re obviously happy to answer any questions there are and we remain clear that no rules were broken," a Labour Party spokesman said.
A Tory MP from North West Durham had urged police to reconsider their assessment that the rules were not breached.
MP Richard Holden said that he did not believe the activity met the "functional but not social" test in the guidance on political campaigning.
In mid-April, the Metropolitan Police issued a fixed penalty notice to Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others over a breach of COVID lockdown in Downing Street in 2020.