Durham Police Beergate Probe Cost Taxpayers £101,000

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Labour leader Keir Starmer (Photo: Owen Humphreys via PA Wire/PA Images)
Labour leader Keir Starmer (Photo: Owen Humphreys via PA Wire/PA Images)

Labour leader Keir Starmer  (Photo: Owen Humphreys via PA Wire/PA Images)

The investigation into whether Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner broke Covid laws cost taxpayers £101,000, it has emerged.

A team of nine officers from Durham Constabulary’s major crime team - who normally work on cases like serious sexual assaults and murders - worked a total of 3,203 hours on the so-called “beergate” probe.

The Labour leader and his deputy were eventually cleared in July.

Durham Constabularly initially dismissed claims that Starmer had breached anti-Covid laws by eating a curry and drinking beer with Labour staff in the constituency office of City of Durham MP Mary Foy on April 30, 2021.

But they re-opened their investigation earlier this year under pressure from the Conservatives.

Starmer had said he was “confident no rules were broken” and that there was “no equivalence” between the accusations levied at him and the partygate scandal that contributed to Boris Johnson’s downfall.

In a major political gamble, both he and Rayner stated that they would stand down from their posts if they received fixed penalty notices from the police.

Durham Constabulary said their investigation found that the event was “reasonably necessary work” and therefore allowed under the rules.

A Freedom of Information request by the NationalWorld website revealed the cost to the public purse of the police probe.

The nine officers involved in the investigation were a detective superintendent, a detective inspector, a detective sergeant and six detective constables. Two other police staff members also took part.

In a statement after he was cleared, Starmer said: “I’ve always said no rules were broken when I was in Durham.

“The police have completed their investigation and agreed: there is no case to answer.

“For me, this was always a matter of principle. Honesty and integrity matter. You will always get that from me.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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