Keir Starmer’s anger at beer and pizza quiz as he accuses BBC’s Sophie Raworth of asking him ‘the same questions seven times’
- Labour leader reacted angrily when BBC asked him if he felt lucky to escape fine
- Sir Keir Starmer accused host of asking him ‘same questions seven times’
- He said: ‘The police looked into it, that’s the end of it. ‘I’ve got nothing to add’
Sir Keir Starmer was yesterday forced again to deny he had broken the law by drinking beer and eating pizza indoors with colleagues during lockdown.
The Labour leader reacted angrily when the BBC asked him if he felt lucky to have escaped being fined by police, given that Rishi Sunak has been penalised for being briefly present at a birthday party for Boris Johnson.
Appearing on BBC1’s Sunday Morning show, Sir Keir accused host Sophie Raworth of asking him ‘the same questions seven times’ before continuing: ‘The police looked into it, that’s the end of it.
‘I’ve got nothing to add. There’s no equivalence.’
Denial: Sir Keir Starmer was photographed drinking a beer with colleagues in 2021
She described how the Chancellor was given a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice for having gone into the Cabinet Room for a meeting in June 2020 and ‘found people in there celebrating the Prime Minister’s birthday’, despite not drinking any alcohol in an event that lasted ‘a few minutes’.
She went on: ‘You will remember, you and I talked about a photograph of you when you were drinking beer during a constituency meeting in Durham.
‘That was at a time when those sort of gatherings were not allowed under the law. Do you think that it’s that different?’
Sir Keir replied: ‘I don’t know the details of what the Chancellor was up to.’
Miss Raworth went on: ‘I’m just asking about the comparison between the Chancellor and the fine that he got, and the time when you were in Durham, you were drinking beer. It’s during the local elections.
‘You stopped working briefly, you had food and beer with colleagues, which actually under the law at the time wasn’t really permitted. And I’m just wondering whether it is you feel lucky?’
He interrupted: ‘Hang on, hang on Sophie, I don’t accept that. I think last time I was on your programme, or the one before you put the same questions to me seven times.’
Told that it had not been seven times, Sir Keir said ‘whatever’ before continuing: ‘The police looked into it, that’s the end of it. I’ve got nothing to add. There’s no equivalence.’
Richard Holden MP, pictured, who has written to Durham’s chief constable over the matter, said last night: ‘It’s time for Sir Keir Starmer to come clean. He needs to admit that it was really a “campaign” visit rather than this ludicrous suggestion he was “working”’
But Tory MPs are demanding more answers from Labour’s leader, as well as a full investigation from police.
Richard Holden, who has written to Durham’s chief constable over the matter, said last night: ‘It’s time for Sir Keir Starmer to come clean. He needs to admit that it was really a “campaign” visit rather than this ludicrous suggestion he was “working”.
‘He needs to tell us who was there. And why doesn’t he think that Durham Police have investigated this incident when the Met have in identical circumstances in London.
‘It can’t be one rule for Sir Keir Starmer and Labour politicians and another rule for everybody else.’
He said that City of Durham MP Mary Foy was ‘clearly pictured’ in the photo taken in her office on April 30 last year.
Mr Holden added that it has also been suggested that Joy Allen, who was at the time running to become the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner, was also present alongside Labour activist Nigel Bryson, who is now her deputy.
But a spokesman for Labour said that neither Ms Allen nor Mr Bryson was at the gathering. They could not be reached for comment.
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