Labour Claims WhatsApp Messages Show Starmer Did Not Break COVID Rules

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer may be staking his political career on previous assertions by the Durham Constabulary that it would not issue on-the-spot FPN fines retrospectively — as the Met did to Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
The British opposition has claimed it has mobile phone messages that show its leader Sir Keir Starmer did not break COVID-19 rules in Durham last April.
The Labour Party says a series of WhatsApp messages between a group of members show they kept working until 1 am at a party office on the night of April 30 2021. That was after up to 30 people, including leader Sir Keir Starmer, his deputy Angela Rayner and local City of Durham MP Mary Foy, enjoyed an Indian takeaway and beer.

"We have been totally clear that no rules were broken," a party source insisted on Monday evening. "We will provide documentary evidence that people were working before and after stopping to have food."

But crucially, Starmer was not included in the messaging groups in question, leaving the question of whether he took part in activities after the 10 pm dinner — the former Director of Public Prosecutions' key defence — still in doubt.
The Durham Constabulary announced last Friday it was reopening its investigation into the incident in light of new evidence.
The campaign event for the 2021 local government elections potentially breached several pandemic lockdown rules in place at the time, including the "Rule of Six" limit on social gatherings, and that political campaign work should be done outdoors in groups of six or less.
The law, which Labour MPs led by Starmer voted in favour of, allowed workplaces to provide food for staff during breaks — making the question of whether he and Rayner carried on after their curry.
Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in the conference hall for the the debate on the leadership election rules changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Starmer Vows to Quit if Fined Over 'Beergate' COVID-19 Rule-Breaking
Starmer has since late last year demanded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson resign over allegations of Downing Street staff socialising after hours, and for a surprise birthday party thrown by his wife Carrie in the Cabinet Room in June 2020. The Metropolitan Police recently issued Johnson a reported £50 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) fine for the 'Cakegate' incident.
Speaking at a brief press conference on Monday afternoon, the Labour leader and his deputy said they would step down if they received FPNs from the Durham Constabulary.
But Sky News political correspondent Beth Rigby pointed out that Starmer was being "hypocritical" given his previous demand for Johnson to quit merely for being under police investigation, as he now was.
Starmer may be pinning his hopes on previous assertions by the Durham Constabulary that it would not issue on-the-spot FPN fines retrospectively — as the Met did to Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
He may also counting o the precedent set when the force declined to charge former Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings after he drove with his family from London to his parents' farm in the north-east English county, on the grounds that he needed help to care for his autistic son while recovering from COVID-19.
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