Sir Keir Starmer faces growing pressure after footage, which was filmed just after 10pm, showed the Leader of the Opposition enjoying a bottle of beer and takeaway curry in a local Labour association office while on the campaign trail ahead of last May’s Super Thursday elections. The revelations came just weeks after Starmer called on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign after the pair received fixed penalty notices from the Metropolitan Police during Scotland Yard’s Operation Hillman investigation into ‘partygate’. The Prime Minister and Chancellor have both since paid off their £50 fines and have committed to “tackle the problems that the country must face right now”.
However, Tory MPs have urged Durham Constabulary to reopen an investigation into Starmer’s trip to the North East in April 2021, including 95 percent of Express.co.uk readers in a recent poll.
Australian-born journalist Amanda Platell, a columnist at the Daily Mail, put pressure on the Labour leader during an appearance on GB News with her Kiwi-counterpart Dan Wootton.
The former acting editor of the Sunday Express said: “I mean, it is incredible.
“We broke this story on the day in the Daily Mail.
“I was in leader conference when somebody came in and said: ‘We’ve got a tape of Karma drinking beer’.”
Dan Wootton chuckled: “Is that what you call him now?”
Ms Platell replied: “Starmer, Starmer, it’s all this karma, and it is karma because it was a couple of young people who were just outside and they thought: ‘Well, this is just wrong’, and they were completely right.
“And literally the news just came into the meeting, and we all just sat there and went: ‘Crikey, he’s banged to rights’.
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“He’s a liar, Keir Starmer is a liar.”
Ms Platell then criticised the Guardian and the BBC for not covering the story in the same way both news outlets covered ‘partygate’.
Step 2 COVID-19 restrictions applied in England back in April 2021.
These measures prevented individuals from socialising indoors except within your household or support bubble.
The restrictions also covered electioneering.
Exemptions for work purposes were in place but rules did not include socialising while at work.
However, Sir Keir Starmer has denied any rules were broken during his visit to Durham.
Speaking to Susanna Reid on ITV’s Good Morning Britain show yesterday, the Labour leader said: “At some point, this was in the evening everyone is hungry and then a takeaway was ordered.
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“It was then delivered into the kitchen of the offices.”
He added: “All restaurants and pubs were closed so the takeaways were really the only way you could eat.
“So this was brought in and at various points, people went through the kitchen, got a plate had something to eat and got on with their work.”
However, the Sun has revealed some restaurants in the immediate area were open, including the Kingslodge Inn, Thai River and Food Pitt.
The Holborn & St Pancras MP also did not deny that 30 people gathered at the event.
Labour was forced to back-peddle after they previously claimed the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner was not present at the gathering.
But a Labour source is reported to have said it was a “mistake made in good faith”.
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His appearance on ITV came just days after the Labour leader accused Tory MPs of “mudslinging” over the footage.
Durham Constabulary have even faced pressure from the former head of Greater Manchester Police to reopen its investigation.
According to the Telegraph, Sir Peter Fahy said: “I think they should probably just look at the new information and reconsider their situation … I think Durham do need to probably reconsider it.”
But the force “reviewed” the footage back in January and opted to take no further action.
They said in a statement at the time: “Durham Constabulary has reviewed video footage recorded in Durham on April 30 2021.
“We do not believe an offence has been established in relation to the legislation and guidance in place at that time and will therefore take no further action in relation to this matter.”
However, while facing mounting pressure, a Durham Police spokesman said on Wednesday: “We have received a number of recent communications on this subject, which we are considering and will respond in due course.”