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Britain’s Labor leader Keir Starmer has announced he will resign if a police investigation into a curry and beer meeting in April 2021 results in a fine – a move to put pressure on Boris Johnson.
The British Opposition leader faces ongoing questions over an event where he drank beer and ate a snack with party activists in Durham – billed by Labor as a work-related gathering – while most indoor socializing was illegal under COVID-19 rules.
Members of the ruling Conservatives had accused Starmer of hypocrisy after he called for the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak when British police fined them for attending an illegal gathering to mark Johnson’s birthday. Johnson is accused of attending several other events while England were in lockdown.
In an effort to neutralize those attacks and create a contrast between himself and the Prime Minister, Starmer said on Monday he would resign as Labor leader if Durham Police decided to give him a so-called firm penalty order, which included a fine is to avoid a court appearance.
“It is absolutely clear to me that no rules were broken, they were followed at all times,” Starmer said. “But if the police gave me a fine, I would of course do the right thing and resign.
“This matters, this matters because the British public deserves politicians who believe the rules apply to them,” he added.
Angela Rayner, Labor Deputy Leader, who was also present at the event, said she too would resign if served with a firm fine.
She said: “I was always aware that I was working in my capacity as Deputy Director at the Durham event and that no rules were being broken. Eating during a long work day wasn’t against the rules. We have a Prime Minister who was found to have broken the rules, lied about it and then been fined. If I were fined, I would do the right thing and resign.”
Further pressure was placed on Starmer after POLITICO’s London Playbook reported on Monday that those present at the event were intoxicated, raising doubts as to whether the event was reasonably necessary for campaign purposes as required by law.
A person familiar with the event told Playbook that some junior staff in attendance “were pissed off and obviously weren’t working, so I remember thinking, ‘Why are they here?'” They said, during or after the curry at a local takeaway was ordered, no work was done.
A Labor Party spokesman said: “Keir worked, a snack was provided in the kitchen and he ate between work demands. No rules were broken.”
Angela Rayner, Labor vice-chairman, said she would resign even if served with a fixed sentence.
“It was always clear to me that I was working in my capacity as Deputy Director at the Durham event and that no rules were being broken,” she said. “Eating during a long working day was not against the rules. We have a Prime Minister who was found to have broken the rules, lied about it and then been fined. If I were fined, I would do the right thing and resign.”
https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-labour-keir-starmer-quit-fine-breaking-covid-rule/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication UK Labor's Keir Starmer says he will quit if fined for breaking COVID rules - POLITICO