07 May 2022

Anas Sarwar: Do not draw ‘false equivalence’ between Starmer and Johnson

07 May 2022

Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, has said comparing accusations against Sir Keir Starmer about breaking lockdown rules with the actions of the Prime Minister would be a “false equivalence”.

The Labour leader is under pressure after Durham Constabulary announced they were re-opening an investigation into whether he broke lockdown rules when having a curry and beer with colleagues.

The news of the investigation drew comparisons with the Prime Minister, who was fined by police for his attendance at a party in Downing Street at the height of the pandemic.

But the Scottish leader has defended Sir Keir, saying: “Keir’s made it clear that he is willing to and keen to answer any and all questions – he will comply fully.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar says there is no comparison between the events concerning Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

“Of course, this is an issue that Durham police have looked at before and found no case to answer.

“I think this is really a false equivalence between what happened in Durham and what happened in Downing Street.

“This is an attempt by the Tories to try and muddy the waters and pretend that all politicians are the same, all political parties are the same.

“Boris Johnson isn’t even the same as his own political colleagues – and the Labour Party is certainly not the same as the Tories.”

There has to be sanctions for people who break the law, but we’re not talking about that yet – let’s wait and see what happens with that investigation

Speaking to journalists from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, where his party took majority control of the council in this week’s election, Mr Sarwar twice refused to say if Sir Keir should step down if he is found to have broken the law.

Meanwhile, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford also refused to say if the Labour leader should step down if he has broken the law.

“SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has refused to say if Sir Keir Starmer should resign as Labour leader if he is found to have broken lockdown rules.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Blackford said it was too early to say what should happen to the Labour leader, but added there should be “sanctions” for anyone who breaks the law.

“There has to be sanctions for people who break the law, but we’re not talking about that yet – let’s wait and see what happens with that investigation,” he said.

“If there are issues for Keir Starmer to answer, then he should do so.”

Mr Blackford was among those at Westminster calling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quit over partygate.

He went on to say the Labour leader will have to “take his own actions, take his own consequences”, if found to have broken the law, but added: “The only man that’s been found guilty, as we sit here today, that is Boris Johnson.”

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