16 May 2022

Keir Starmer: ‘I’ve put everything on the line’ with Covid fine resignation promise

16 May 2022

Sir Keir Starmer said he has “put everything on the line” by promising to step down if he is fined over alleged Covid rule breaking.

The Labour leader was caught on camera drinking a beer in an MP’s office after a day of campaigning for the local elections in Durham in April 2021.

At the time of the event, Covid rules meant that indoor gatherings were banned except for work purposes.

The event is now subject to an investigation by Durham Police, with Sir Keir announcing he will quit if he is issued with a fixed penalty notice.

I think trust is everything in politics. I have put everything on the line for that honour and that integrity because I don’t believe all politicians are the same

Appearing on Loose Women for the first time, the Labour leader said: “I have put everything on the line because I think that that is the right thing to do.

“That is the complete opposite to the Prime Minister.”

Sir Keir maintained that he did not break the rules in Durham and is “sure” the police will come to the same conclusion.

Told it is not up to him to decide whether he had broken the rules or not, the Opposition Leader replied: “I know that but my instinct, as soon as I knew that Durham had decided they were going to reopen its investigation, in my heart I knew what I was going to say, which is: if I’m wrong and they’ve found I have broken the law then I’ll do the right thing and step down.”

Sir Keir told the programme the police probe into beergate is a “completely different situation” to the investigation into parties in Downing Street.

He was asked why he has not resigned already when he had previously called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign for being investigated by the police.

“By then we already knew that there was industrial-scale rule breaking in Downing Street,” he said.

“We had had so many examples, including the example of the wheelbarrow of booze coming in, the suitcases coming in, on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, so it was a completely different situation.”

He said trust is “everything” in politics and that he does not believe that “all politicians are the same”.

“The number of times I hear: ‘You’re all the same, you won’t do the right thing’.

“I think trust is everything in politics. I have put everything on the line for that honour and that integrity because I don’t believe all politicians are the same.

“It is important we don’t sink into this where everybody thinks all politicians are the same, because then people lose trust in democracy and think: ‘Why should I vote if you’re all the same?’”

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