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Keir Starmer should ‘consider position’ if fined by police, says Diane Abbott

Sir Keir Starmer should “consider his position” as Labour chief if he’s fined as a part of a police inquiry right into a takeaway meal with colleagues, former shadow minister Diane Abbott has stated.

Durham Constabulary is investigating claims that an occasion attended by Sir Keir together with different senior celebration figures and activists whereas campaigning final year may need damaged native Covid rules.

“I think if he actually gets a fixed penalty notice he really has to consider his position,” Ms Abbott, a left-wing critic of Sir Keir’s management, informed LBC.

The former shadow residence secretary, who served beneath Jeremy Corbyn, added: “I don’t think he will – I think this is a lot of hype built up by the Tory press – but if he were to get a fixed penalty notice he would have to consider his position.”

It follows Mr Corbyn’s intervention within the row. The former Labour chief, who now sits as an impartial MP, stated on Friday that the police resolution to re-examine the case was a “very serious development”.

However, Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting informed BBC Breakfast on Saturday that he wouldn’t entertain the prospect of Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions, resigning over alleged lockdown rule-breaking in Durham final April.

“I’m not even going to entertain the prospect of that, because I have absolute faith and confidence that Keir Starmer did the right thing all the way along,” stated the shadow well being secretary.

Mr Streeting stated the distinction between Sir Keir and Boris Johnson could be “even sharper” after the Durham Police crew had completed its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Durham Police stated that they had U-turned on their earlier evaluation that no offence had been dedicated after receiving “significant new information”.

Police haven’t revealed what extra particulars sparked the investigation, however The Times reported a “key factor” was affirmation that deputy chief Angela Rayner had attended the occasion. Labour had beforehand denied that she had been current.

The inquiry into so-called Beergate will take as much as six weeks, and can see these suspected of getting breached lockdown guidelines despatched questionnaires, in response to studies.

Sir Keir, after getting back from a victory lap across the nation following Labour’s native elections success, informed reporters in London on Friday that he didn’t imagine the occasion had breached the principles.

Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi questioned why Sir Keir was not resigning, after the Labour chief had referred to as for Mr Johnson to stop as PM whereas beneath investigation over the No 10 Partygate row.

Mr Zahawi informed Times Radio: “The public will be uncomfortable with the hypocrisy. I think he’s used one in three of his PMQs to talk about parties … He has tweeted himself, saying that if you’re under investigation, a criminal investigation, then you should resign.”

Labour’s Sadiq Khan raised eyebrows final week when he stated it was a “fair point” to attract comparisons between Mr Johnson’s party and Sir Keir’s takeaway curry gathering.

But the London mayor defended the celebration chief on Saturday, saying: “Keir is quite clear. No rules were broken. He was working incredibly hard all day, had supper in the evening. A million miles away from what Boris Johnson was found to have done.”

Shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens additionally defended the Labour chief. Asked whether or not Sir Keir may resign, she informed Times Radio {that a} high quality was “extremely unlikely”.

Ms Stevens added: “I think that this is a non-story, a kind of smear that’s been going on to time with the local elections, to try and hold up a Tory party that is so badly damaged by the behaviour of the prime minister.”

Following allegations of lockdown breaches by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s adviser on the time, Durham Constabulary stated it had a coverage in opposition to issuing Covid fines retrospectively.

In May 2020, an investigation concluded that Mr Cummings may need dedicated a “minor breach” of the regulation by driving to Barnard Castle, however that issuing a set penalty discover months later “would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public”.

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