Keir Starmer was left squirming yesterday as he struggled to fend off urgent questions over ‘Beergate’.
During a series of bruising interviews, the Labour leader refused three times to say whether police have been in touch with him following fresh revelations in the Daily Mail.
Sir Keir also snapped angrily at a journalist who questioned whether he had really gone back to work after his 10pm beer and curry with his deputy Angela Rayner and party officials.
Labour’s defence hangs on the unsubstantiated claim that he had carried on with campaigning duties after the late-night meal in Durham. The party yesterday refused to specify what, if any, work was done.
But Sir Keir said it was ‘absurd’ to suggest that the Friday night drink on April 20, 2021, was the end of his working day.
Last night a picture emerged of what may have been his official car in Durham that evening.
This raises the prospect that his police protection team might be able to provide bombshell testimony, in the same way that officers are being asked for their recollections of ‘Partygate’ events in Downing Street.
Labour last night declined to comment on the picture, or on whether police were present at the event in Durham Miners Hall. A source said the party would never ‘get into security arrangements’.
But Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries urged Sir Keir to come clean about the event in order to allay further suspicions.
She added: ‘The natural reaction to his refusal to give a straight answer is to suspect that he is hiding something.’
Two students who filmed the incident yesterday told the Mail they had been shocked to witness the Labour leader at what appeared to be a rule-breaking social event.
One said: ‘Keir Starmer had been so vocal about pushing for more lockdown restrictions, so when I saw him I thought, “What a hypocrite” – the hypocrisy really annoyed me. So I got my phone and started to film them.’