Beergate: Keir Starmer accused of 'hypocrisy' with police probe into lockdown curry as Labour MP insists he is 'Mr Rules'

Beergate: Keir Starmer accused of 'hypocrisy' with police probe into lockdown curry as Labour MP insists he is 'Mr Rules'
Sir Keir Starmer is 'Mr Rules', said Lisa Nandy.REUTERS/Simon Dawson
  • Keir Starmer has been accused of "hypocrisy" as he faces a police investigation into a potentially lockdown-breaching curry.
  • The Labour leader called for Boris Johnson to resign when he was being investigated over so-called partygate claims.

Keir Starmer has been accused of "hypocrisy" by a government minister after police opened an investigation into claims he broke lockdown rules in an event dubbed 'beergate'.

On Friday, Durham Police announced it had launched a probe after receiving "significant new information" about claims the Labour leader joined his team for a curry and drank beer in an office in May 2021 during the campaign for the Hartlepool by-election.

Starmer pulled out of events he was scheduled to attend on Monday, including an address ahead of the Queen's Speech later this week. The Times reported he may make a statement on his future later on Monday.

Starmer says no rules were broken and there was a pause in work to eat.

A leaked memo for the day published by the Mail on Sunday suggests the meal was pre-planned. The memo suggested no further work was planned after the meal.


The memo also shows Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, was at the meal. Labour previously denied her presence in what they now claim was an "honest mistake".

But Conservatives have accused him of hypocrisy, after he called on Boris Johnson to resign at the outset of a police probe into 'partygate' – a series of parties and gatherings in Downing Street during lockdown.

Johnson, and his most senior minister Chancellor Rishi Sunak, have both received fines for attending a party to mark Johnson's 56th birthday. The Metropolitan Police is yet to conclude its partygate investigation, meaning Johnson could yet receive further penalties.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, told Sky News that the situation "smacks of sheer hypocrisy", but did not call for Starmer to resign.

Lisa Nandy, a senior shadow minister, told Sky News on Sunday that Starmer, who received a knighthood in 2014 for his work as director of public prosecutions, is "Mr Rules."


She said: "He does not break the rules, he was the director of public prosecutions, not somebody who goes around tearing up rules when it suits him, in stark contrast to the Prime Minister."

Conservative MPs elected in 2019 have said an apology from Starmer would be sufficient, according to messages between the MPs leaked to The Times.