‘He’s Mr. Rules’: Labor denies leak shows Starmer violated lockdown laws | Keir Starmer

Labor has rejected claims that a leaked planning memorandum on Keir Starmer’s visit to Durham last year undermined his claim that he did not break lockdown laws, insisting he is “Mr Rules”.

The Labor document, published by the Mail on Sunday, shows that an 80-minute dinner with Labor MP Mary Foy, with takeaway curry, was scheduled as part of her agenda.

Starmer has repeatedly claimed that the meal, at which he was photographed drinking beer, did not violate lockdown rules because he was eating in the course of work and not attending a social event.

Durham Police’s announcement on Friday that they were reopening their investigation into the event prompted the Conservatives to accuse the Labor leader of hypocrisy when he called for Boris Johnson to resign as police opened an investigation into lockdown breaches at the number 10.

Conservatives argued that the memo was evidence that the meal breached lockdown rules because it showed it was pre-arranged (between 8:40 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.) and not just a spontaneous decision to order food while work dragged on. until night, Starmer’s account of the night has hinted.

Starmer has also claimed that after his meal he continued to work. But the leaked schedule showed that after the meal she was to return to his hotel.

In a separate report, the Sunday Times quoted an unnamed source who was present at the meeting as saying that Starmer did not return to work after his meal and that Foy and his staff were not present for business purposes but only to take a break. Cup.

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“Mary Foy and her staff were not working and I have no problem telling the police. They were just getting pissed off. They were just there to have fun,” the source told the newspaper.

Mary Foy said: “My team and I have been working through a very busy period. Including facilitating the visit of the leader. I do not believe that I or my office have broken any rules and I will of course be fully involved in any police investigation.”

In a tweet over the weekend, Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, said the memo showing Labour’s account of the night was “a lie”. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy prime minister, told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that Starmer was guilty of “rank double standards”.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow leveling secretary, told the same show that the leaked memo confirmed that Starmer was on a work visit when she was in Durham on April 30, 2021.

He said Starmer was the victim of “an absolutely desperate attempt at mud throwing” and that it was “absurd” to equate this with a prime minister under investigation for 12 separate gatherings, including “karaoke parties, bring your own bottle parties, pub quizzes.” [and] suitcases full of wine being smuggled out the back door.”

He added: “The PM lied about it…Keir Starmer went on a work visit and had a lunch break. The idea that this is the same kind of thing is just a sign of a government that is tired, desperate and completely out of ideas.

“This is a guy who has isolated himself six times during the pandemic, I don’t know of any other person who has done that.

“He is Mr. Rules, he does not break the rules, he was the director of public prosecution, not someone who breaks the rules when it suits him, in stark contrast to the prime minister.”

Adam Wagner, a human rights lawyer and lockdown specialist, said the Labor memo could be used to clear Starmer of charges that he broke the law.

“Seeing as this was a scheduled event as part of the Opposition Leader’s visit to Durham, during a local election campaign, one event centered around him being with a local MP and his staff, and it was at night and food was ordered. because it was night, I really don’t see how it could be a violation of the rules,” he said.

“The regulations allowed for any gathering that was reasonably necessary for work or volunteer activity. And obviously the general purpose of that visit was for the leader of the opposition to visit the local activists and the local parliamentarian and that’s all on the schedule.

“Then the police would have to say, ‘Well, we don’t actually agree with the Labor Party’s analysis of what was reasonably necessary for the leader’s trip to Durham,’ and I doubt they can really back up that reasoning.”

Wagner said that the events of Partygate No 10 were quite different. “The problem with the Downing Street events was that they were pre-arranged social events. The ones being investigated are those where it’s pretty obvious the purpose of the event was social: a Christmas party, a going away party, a birthday party. While the fact that this is planned in advance, I think it shows otherwise. It shows that the purpose was political.”

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