Keir Starmer has gambled his career on being cleared over Beergate by making an extraordinary vow to quit if he is fined by police – with Angela Rayner also promising to do the same. MailOnline has the story.
The Labour leader gave a statement after spending hours hunkered down with aides trying to decide how to handle the mounting crisis over the boozy curry event in April last year.
He insisted he is “absolutely clear” no rules were broken and he believes in “honour and integrity” – saying he is “very different” from Boris Johnson.
Sir Keir said he had self-isolated six times, and obeyed the rules when his father-in-law was ill, suggesting even his opponents did not really believe he would have breached them in Durham.
“If the police decide to issue me with a FPN I would of course do the right thing and step down,’ he said – although pushed by journalists he declined to say what he would do if police merely rebuke him publicly.
Angela Rayner echoed his stance, saying in a statement: “If I were issued with a fine, I would do the decent thing and step down.”
The intervention – which raised the prospect of Labour being left without either of its two top politicians – came after a day of building tension, which saw Sir Keir cancel a think-tank event where he would have been grilled by journalists and ignored questions as he left his London home this morning.
He has agreed with senior figures urging him to get on the front foot by committing to resign should Durham Police find he broke Covid rules.
The strategy is high-risk but could potentially leave Sir Keir in a strong position if police do not issue a penalty – while allies suspect he would need to go anyway were he to receive a fine. It also means he will have more leverage in clashes with Mr. Johnson after the Queen’s Speech tomorrow.