Labour admits Rayner at 'beergate' event with Starmer

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Labour admits Rayner at 'beergate' event with Starmer
Labour admits Rayner at 'beergate' event with Starmer

LABOUR has admitted deputy leader Angela Rayner was present when Sir Keir Starmer was filmed drinking beer with colleagues during lockdown after previously denying it.

The party said it had made a “genuine mistake” when it insisted in January that Ms Rayner had not been at the gathering in Durham on April 30 last year.

However the party only made the admission after the Daily Mail presented it with video offence of Ms Rayner’s presence.

Labour has denied that any Covid lockdown rules were broken at the gathering, which took place in the constituency office of City of Durham Labour MP Mary Foy.

But Tory MPs want the police to reconsider their decision not to investigate the ‘beergate’ event in light of the fine issued to Boris Johnson for attending a birthday party in Number 10.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said detectives should launch a full investigation, adding: 'A consistency of the application of the law, that's what we all deserve – whether we're in London or whether we're in Durham.'

The PM’s spokesman said: 'The PM thinks the law should be applied equally at all times.'

Tory MP Brendan Clarke Smith said: 'For all their sanctimony about honesty and transparency, it's plain to see that Labour have not told the truth about Keir Starmer's lockdown drinks party.

'Why would they lie about Angela Rayner's presence if they thought the event was legal? It makes you wonder what else they are hiding.'

Durham Police confirmed they had received “a number of further communications” which they will be responding to, but are not currently investigating the matter.

The Daily Mail reported that when its reporters approached party officials in January, they had been told Ms Rayner was not present.

“Angela wasn’t there. It was Mary Foy’s office,” a Labour press office messaged the paper.

However after the paper produced video evidence that she had joined Sir Keir at the gathering, the party admitted she had been there.

A Labour source told the PA news agency it had been a “genuine mistake”.

A spokesman also said there was “no comparison” with the parties which took place in No 10 and Whitehall.

He said: “Keir Starmer was in the workplace, meeting a local MP in her constituency office and participating in an online Labour Party event.

“They paused for food as the meeting was during the evening. No rules were broken.

“There is simply no comparison between standing in a kitchen having something to eat between meetings, with multiple, flagrant rule breaking drinks parties at the heart of Government, dismissed by lies at the despatch box and resulting in an apology to the Queen.”

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