Keir ‘did not break the rules’ and it ‘was not illegal to eat’, says Lisa Nandy

·2-min read
Lisa Nandy defended Sir Keir on Sunday (PA)
Lisa Nandy defended Sir Keir on Sunday (PA)

Lisa Nandy claimed Sir Keir Starmer did not break Covid restrictions during a visit to Durham last year and accused the Tories of “attempting to sling mud” during an interview on Sunday.

Speaking to Sky News’s Sophy Ridge, the Shadow Levelling Up Secretary said Sir Keir had merely stopped to eat during a work visit last year.

After Durham Police said they would now investigate an incident involving Sir Keir during his trip to Durham in April 2021, Ms Nandy said no rules had been broken and that it would be absurd to link the incident to the events in Downing Street which the Met Police is investigating.

She said: “This was investigated last time the Conservatives tried to sling mud at us and Keir Starmer was found to be completely in the clear.

"This is a guy who self-isolated six times during the pandemic. I don't know a single other person who did that. He is Mr Rules. He does not break the rules."

Ms Nandy added: “It is absurd to equate that to a work visit with planned breaks to eat. It was not illegal to eat.

“The idea that this is the same thing is just a sign of a government that is tired, desperate and just out of ideas.

“They spend more time slinging mud at the Labour party than working out how they’re going to help pensioners who are now struggling so much to heat their homes that they’re having to go on buses avoid the cold.”

At the time of the incident, the public was not allowed to mix indoors unless working.

Asked on the incident, Sir Keir said: “As I have explained a number of times, I was working in the office, we stopped for something to eat.

“There was no party, no breach of rules, I am confident of that.”

The Mail on Sunday, however, has since published an alleged leaked memo from the Labour Party leader’s office claiming the event was planned.

The memo features a timetable including "dinner" from 8.40pm to 10pm at the Miners Hall with Mary Foy, and states a takeaway will be ordered from a curry house called Spice Lounge.

It also says Sir Keir would return to a hotel after 10pm, which appears to contradict his claim that everyone at the gathering “got on with their work” after eating.

A spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition’s office said: “Keir was working, a takeaway was made available in the kitchen, and he ate between work demands. No rules were broken.”

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