Emily Thornberry has said a Tory “assault unit” was behind the so-called Beergate fuss, which has forced Keir Starmer to say he will resign if police find he has broken lockdown rules.
Labor’s shadow attorney made the comments while co-debating the allegations LBC’s Andrew Marr, and suggested that Durham Police had been goaded by a Tory campaign force into investigating the incident further.
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“The Conservative Party have what they call an Assault Unit which has been working overtime, according to The Sunday Times, with various people in Durham putting together something they gave Durham Police,” she told Marr.
When asked by Marr if she thought the police had been “intimidated by the press,” she replied, “I think Conservative Party Headquarters believe it is in their political interest to try, Keir.” Smear Starmer and make sure all politicians are seen as equal.”
Thornberry’s comments referenced an article in The Sunday Times by chief political commentator Tim Shipman, who assessed Boris Johnson’s chances in the next general election despite being “roasted” in last week’s local elections.
Shipman wrote that Durham Police’s announcement on Friday that it would investigate further a beer and curry that Starmer and his associates enjoyed during a campaign last year was a “success for the CCHQ Assault Unit,” and named their leaders Ross Kempsell, the political director of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) and Alex Wild, the CCHQ’s communications director.
Along with local Tory MP Richard Holden, “they dug up details about the event to undermine claims that it was just a working day lunch break,” Shipman reported. He added that Conservative sources said they were “helped on the ground by hard left Labor activists who oppose Starmer replacing Jeremy Corbyn”.
Wild has been described in the past as a “hard-hitting, aggressive operator” whose style is to “defend the prime minister from the front,” according to Politico London Playbookwhile Kempsell, once a Times Radio correspondent, is known as a trusted adviser to the Prime Minister, having received praise for his work across CCHQ.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/politics/956699/is-there-a-tory-attack-unit Is there a Tory ‘attack unit’?