Starmer & Rayner Cleared By Durham Police Over “Beer & Curry Gate”

Image of Keir Starmer snapped through a window during a lockdown work meeting in Durham in 2020
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In a statement released earlier today Durham police stated there was “no case to answer” citing an exemption to lockdown rules for “reasonably necessary work”.

The Daily Mail had been heavily pushing a story regarding Labour Leader Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner claiming that they broke lockdown rules by travelling to Durham and having beer and a curry, earning the hashtag “#BeerGate” on Twitter.

Starmer had long claimed that they were in Durham on the 13th April 2021 for a work meeting and had merely taken a quick break to have some dinner (a take away curry that had been delivered) and a beer before returning to work.

The work event took place just before the Hartlepool by-elections and local elections[1]Wikipedia: Beergate and around 17 people (including Starmer and Rayner) used the office of Mary Foy (MP for the City of Durham) for a strategy planning meeting. Around 10pm a student took a photograph of Starmer apparently “partying” which was printed by The Sun and then subsequently covered by The Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

After Starmer said that Boris Johnson should resign following the Prime Minister receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for attending at least one party during lockdown (dubbed PartyGate), there were calls for Starmer to be investigated in a similar manner. Durham Police launched their formal investigation on the 6th of May, with Starmer and Rayner saying 3 days later they were “confident” they had not broken any rules.

Rules had been slightly relaxed at the time to enable campaigning to go ahead for the local election on May 6th and as a result these type of gatherings were legal as long as they were for work purposes[2]PMP Magazine: Every ‘journalist’ pushing the Starmer Beergate story must know it to be false. Some thought that the story was being pushed by pro-Boris media in order to eat into Labour’s potential votes at the local elections, a move that failed miserably given that the Conservatives lost 336 seats in England[3]BBC News: Local Election Results (May 2022).

After the announment,r Keir said: “For me, this was always a matter of principle. Honesty and integrity matter. You will always get that from me.” He later called for Boris Johnson to step down with immediate effect.

The full BeerGate statement from Durham Police is below:

Following the emergence of significant new information, an investigation was launched by Durham constabulary into a gathering at the Miners’ Hall, in Redhills, Durham on 30 April 2021. That investigation has now concluded.

A substantial amount of documentary and witness evidence was obtained which identified the 17 participants and their activities during that gathering. Following the application of the evidential full code test, it has been concluded that there is no case to answer for a contravention of the regulations, due to the application of an exception, namely reasonably necessary work.

Accordingly, Durham constabulary will not be issuing any fixed penalty notices in respect of the gathering and no further action will be taken. The investigation has been thorough, detailed and proportionate.

The final evidence supplied by participants from the local constituency was returned to Durham police on 5 July and analysed by investigators against all the evidence before the investigation was concluded on 8 July 2022.

In line with established national policing guidelines, we will not name or otherwise identify any of those present at the gathering, all of whom have been informed of the investigation outcome by their legal representatives.

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