Starmer's 'Beergate' bash with £200 curry takeout was 'pre-planned', leaked memo reveals

7 May 2022, 20:04 | Updated: 7 May 2022, 20:08

A leaked memo indicated that the dinner in Durham had been planned
A leaked memo indicated that the dinner in Durham had been planned. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Keir Starmer's 'Beergate' event, which also included a takeaway, was planned in advance, a leaked memo has shown.

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The Labour leader was pictured having a beer and curry at a campaign event but has said he is "confident" that he did not breach lockdown rules.

However, a leaked memo published by the Mail on Sunday indicated that the dinner in Durham had been planned on the schedule for Sir Keir's day of campaigning in April 2021.

The document stated that there would be a "dinner in Miners Hall" with City of Durham MP Mary Foy from 8.40pm to 10pm - and a note indicated a member of staff in Sir Keir's office was to arrange the takeaway curry from the Spice Lounge.

The only business listed after the dinner was for him to walk back to his hotel.

Sir Keir previously claimed he "paused for food" and continued working after the meal, saying "the idea that nobody works at 10 o'clock at night is absurd".

A spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition's office said: "Keir was working, a takeaway was made available in the kitchen, and he ate between work demands. No rules were broken."

Timings for events frequently slip during a campaign and on the day of the curry the takeaway was late, a source said.

Read more: Diane Abbott: Starmer should 'consider his position' if he receives fixed penalty notice

Read more: Minister refuses to say whether Keir Starmer should resign if he broke law over 'Beergate'

It comes after Durham Constabulary confirmed it was investigating claims an evening event attended by the Labour leader with other senior party figures and activists last year might have broken rules in place.

Labour MP Diane Abbott told LBC that Mr Starmer should "consider his position" if he receives a fixed penalty notice from Durham police.

She said: "If he actually gets a fixed penalty notice he really has to consider his position. I mean, I don't think he will, I think this is a lot of sort of hype built up by the Tory press.

"But if he were to get a fixed penalty notice he would have to consider his position."

Speaking during a visit to Scotland on Saturday, Sir Keir said: "The police have obviously got to do their job but meanwhile I am here in Scotland because we have had a fantastic set of results."

He also said that while he has called for Prime Minster Boris Johnson to quit after he was fined for attending a party at Westminster during lockdown, he would not be resigning.

Instead he said he was focused on the next general election after his party "did really well" in the local elections.

Ms Abbott earlier denied that she was implying he should resign.

"He should think about his position and decide what is best. And that is only if he actually gets a fixed penalty notice!" she said.

"That's just logical."