Angela Rayner was with Keir Starmer on the night of the lockdown beer photo, Labor says

Labor sources admitted a “real mistake” after an officer initially denied she was there. But Labor denied Tory’s claims they had broken the law, hitting back: “They want people to think it’s all the same so no scandal counts.”

Angela Rayner with Keir Starmer at PMQs

Angela Rayner was with Keir Starmer on the night when a picture was taken of him holding a beer during lockdown, Labor has confirmed.

Party sources blamed a “genuine mistake” committed “in good faith” after an official initially denied the vice leader was there in April 2021.

Mrs Rayner and the Labor leader were both at Miners’ Hall in Durham on the night of April 30th for the local election campaign.

They each appeared separately from the venue in an online campaign broadcast for Labor members, with Ms Rayner citing the Durham miners’ motto: “The past we inherit – the future we build”.

Shortly after, Sir Keir stopped for pizza and a beer with party staff – where he was now infamously filmed through the window.

Labor insists neither boss broke Covid rules at the gathering. Durham Police investigated the incident in February and decided not to take any further action.

Covid laws at the time banned indoor gatherings of different households, but exempted gatherings “reasonably necessary for work”.

A Labor spokesman said: “Keir Starmer was at work, met a local MP at her constituency office and attended an online Labor Party event. They paused to eat as the meeting was in the evening. No rules were broken.

Keir Starmer was infamously filmed through the window in Durham



“There’s simply no comparison between standing in a kitchen to grab a bite to eat between meetings, having multiple, flagrant, rule-breaking drink parties at the heart of government, dismissed by lies at the mail box, leading to an apology to the Queen .”

A Labor official initially denied to the Daily Mail that Ms Rayner was there. Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith told the newspaper: “For all their hypocrisy about honesty and transparency, it is evident that Labor has not been telling 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 is understood that the initial denial was a mistake and the officer did not have all the facts at the time.

Angela Rayner in an online broadcast to Labor members the night the photo was taken


Facebook/Labor Party)

It comes after Durham Police spoke out to insist they had not reopened the investigation into Sir Keir after a message to Tory MP Richard Holden was widely misread. Instead, the police officers look at the MP’s concerns.

Mr Holden told Durham Police he had discovered “concerning new evidence” that members were invited to a quiz on the night.

A Labor source insisted the quiz was on Zoom via members’ living rooms, was not in the building where Sir Keir was and he had not taken part.

Mr Holden, who is calling for police to reopen the case, stopped for a group curry days earlier for work purposes.

The MP whose office was used, Mary Kelly Foy, was understood to have apologized to Mr Holden this week after she angrily confronted him about the row.

Witnesses claimed she “yelled” at Mr Holden on the terrace of the House of Commons on Tuesday night. Mr Holden said her behavior was “completely unacceptable”.

Richard Holden, who is calling for police to reopen the case, stopped for a group curry days earlier for work purposes


Craig Connor/Chronicle Live)

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail revealed that Keir Starmer received a birthday card and two cakes at his office on his birthday in September 2020.

There was no indication it would break any laws as the initial lockdown had been lifted at the time.

The Labor leader’s birthday was on September 2, a few weeks before SAGE – and then Sir Keir – recommended a new lockdown amid rising cases.

However, the guidance advised people not to hold or attend celebrations at close range.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace suggested there was a double standard between Sir Keir and Boris Johnson, who was being investigated by police through six different parties during legal lockdowns.

He told the Mail: “A consistent application of the law, that’s what we all deserve – whether we’re in London or in Durham.”

But Shadow Treasury Secretary Pat McFadden hit back, telling Sky News: “Police have already looked into this in Durham and haven’t found anything to do about it.

Pat McFadden hit back: ‘You want people to think it’s all the same so scandal doesn’t count’


Phillip Harris)

“People are trying to find an equivalent to this, but the police have already looked at this and that was their conclusion.

“I just don’t think this is in any way tantamount to a series of parties, ‘bring your own booze’, alcohol brought in a suitcase while Abba sings Winner Takes It All in the background.

“They want people to think it’s all the same, so scandal doesn’t count and that’s a bad place for us.”

Durham Police said: “Earlier this year Durham Police conducted a review of video footage taken in Durham on April 30, 2021.

“We stated that we do not believe that any criminal offense has been identified in relation to the laws and guidance in force at the time the footage was shot and therefore we would not be taking any further action on the matter.

“We have since received a number of other communications on this matter and will now review the content of these communications and respond in due course.

“For the sake of clarity, Durham Constabulary is not currently investigating this incident.”

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