Sir Keir Starmer under pressure to resign after police confirm ‘beergate’ investigation

Sir Keir Starmer is facing calls to resign after police launched an investigation into potential Covid law-breaking at the “beergate” event.

The Labour leader drank beer and shared a curry with colleagues including Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, at an indoor gathering during the local election campaign last April.

When Scotland Yard began an investigation in January into alleged lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street, both Sir Keir and Ms Rayner repeatedly called for Boris Johnson to resign. 

Sir Keir tweeted a week after the announcement of the investigation: “Honesty and decency matter. After months of denials, the Prime Minister is now under criminal investigation for breaking his own lockdown laws. He needs to do the decent thing and resign.”

Ms Rayner tweeted on the day: “Boris Johnson’s Downing Street is under police investigation, how on earth can he think he can stay on as Prime Minister?”

On Friday afternoon, the same questions were being put to the Labour front bench about Sir Keir after Durham Constabulary issued a statement saying it would investigate the Labour gathering. The force had previously said it did not believe the Labour leader had breached Covid rules.

Part of the statement read: “Following the receipt of significant new information over recent days, Durham Constabulary … can confirm that an investigation into potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations relating to this gathering is now being conducted.”

Sir Keir insisted on Friday evening he was “confident no rules were broken”, adding: “As I’ve explained a number of times, we were working in the office, we stopped for something to eat. No party, no breach of the rules. 

“The police have obviously got their job to do. We should let them get on it. But I’m confident that no rules were broken.”