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'It's not on': Starmer condemns G7 BBQ after leaders gather in group of 'around 40'

14 June 2021, 10:22 | Updated: 14 June 2021, 20:13

By Joe Cook

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has strongly criticised the prime minister for hosting a beach barbecue for G7 leaders attended by around 38 to 40 people on Saturday.

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and other world leaders gathered on a beach in Carbis Bay on Saturday evening for an informal gathering.

The group could be seen enjoying a few drinks alongside dinner and taking in the impressive Red Arrows flypast, but those involved did not appear to be socially distanced and could be seen rubbing shoulders with one another, sparking accusations of hypocrisy.

Answering caller's questions on LBC's Call Keir, the Labour leader condemned the meeting: "I have to say, the BBQ: the optics of that did not look good. They really didn't look good."

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Speaking ahead of an expected announcement from Mr Johnson on the next stages of lockdown easing, Sir Keir continued: "Tonight we are going to hear from the prime minister, probably saying 'alas', that word that always means he is about to tell us that his plan didn't work, and that we are probably in for another four weeks of restrictions.

"I think the optics of [the barbecue] just a few days before were not good and a lot of people are going to be pretty frustrated I think, having seen that and then hearing what we are going to hear tonight."

Watch: 'Why are G7 world leaders allowed to have a BBQ on a beach and the public are not?'

No10 has been forced to deny the meal on Saturday breached Covid rules, which allow 30 people to gather together outside.

They said there were fewer than 30 guests, the event was outside and all participants in the summit have a daily testing regime. However, pictures appear to show around 38 to 40 people gathered.

Pressed by LBC's Nick Ferrari on whether the gathering did break the rules said: "They say they didn't and I didn't sit and count the individuals but there is no getting away, the optics matter in those things.

"Imagine if your wedding is next week and we all know what the wedding day is for you - your family, your friends, etcetera - and you are now going to watch at five or six o'clock tonight, nervous that your wedding may not go ahead.

"In the heart of those people, they will have looked at that and said 'That is just one rule for them and another for me and it is not on.'"