Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said Durham Police have not contacted him over reinvestigating a gathering in the city last April.
Quizzed over the event by ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme earlier today, Starmer explained: “No. I think they [Durham Constabulary] put out a statement last week saying they are not re-investigating. They haven’t spoken to me.”
Sir Keir said he had been “very careful to abide by the rules”.
In his broadcast round just yesterday, Starmer thrice refused to say whether police had recently contacted him regarding the event.
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Starmer was accused of breaching Covid rules after drinking beer in Durham’s local Labour party office after 10:00pm on 30 April 2021.
Covid rules at the time stressed that such indoor political meetings were only legally permitted and “reasonably necessary” for a campaign.
The Sun newspaper is also alleging that the group of Labour campaigners ordered enough food from a local curry house to feed 30 people.
In this morning’s interview, Starmer dodged questions over how many people attended the gathering, stating: “Let me take that head on. We were I think a few days before the elections last year so four or five days before the elections, that means just like today I am on the road everyday with my team, we are going to different places, soon as I leave here here I am getting on the train to Wakefield, no different this time last year.
“Across the country, going to areas where we needed to campaign. During the day we were out doing visits, campaigning, going on high streets, knocking on doors where we could.
“In the evening we are preparing, we are doing all the other things that a team on the go has to do.
“That included when we were in Durham doing pieces to camera, doing media slots, doing preparation,” he went on.
Durham Constabulary said back in February that Starmer did not break the rules, but there have been fresh calls for an investigation after Scotland Yard slammed the prime minister and chancellor with £50 fines respectively after a birthday gathering in Downing Street.
Richard Holden, the Conservative MP for the neighbouring North West Durham constituency, has urged a fresh probe into the event after he said there was proof a quiz and social was hosted by the local party the same day.
Last week the Daily Mail published a “six-page dossier” on the row, saying that Labour now admits deputy leader Angela Rayner was too in attendance at the event, despite previously stating she was not.
A Labour spokesperson told the paper that the inconsistent statements regarding the gathering were “an honest mistake”.