'Everything is on the line' by offering to resign if fined says Starmer

16 May 2022, 15:57 | Updated: 16 May 2022, 16:20

Sir Keir said he would resign if fined by Durham Constabulary
Sir Keir said he would resign if fined by Durham Constabulary. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Sir Keir Starmer admits he has put "everything on the line" by promising to resign if fined over a beer he had during lockdown – and is sure police will agree he broke no rules.

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The Labour leader said he doesn't believe all politicians are the same and wants to prove that by being ready to quit if Durham Constabulary reaches a different conclusion.

Tories have doubled down on their focus on Sir Keir's beer at an MP's office in Durham in April 2021, when England was under Covid rules.

It came after Boris Johnson and his Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, were issued with fines, along with more than 100 staff in Downing Street and Whitehall so far.

"I have put everything on the line because I think that that is the right thing to do," Sir Keir said.

"That is the complete opposite to the Prime Minister."

He told Loose Women that he was "sure" police would agree he did not break Covid rules and went on: "As soon as I knew that Durham had decided they were going to reopen its investigation, in my heart I knew what I was going to say, which is: if I'm wrong and they've found I have broken the law then I'll do the right thing and step down."

Read more: More than 100 Partygate fines issued by Met but Boris not handed punishment

He said the so-called "beergate" saga was a "completely different situation" to the Downing Street events, saying there had been "industrial-scale rule breaking" there and that was why he told Boris Johnson to resign after he was being investigated.

He went on: "The number of times I hear: 'You're all the same, you won't do the right thing'.

"I think trust is everything in politics. I have put everything on the line for that honour and that integrity because I don't believe all politicians are the same.

"It is important we don't sink into this where everybody thinks all politicians are the same, because then people lose trust in democracy and think: 'Why should I vote if you're all the same?'"

Last week, an extra 50 fines handed out to Downing Street and Whitehall staff took the total issued by the Met to people in Government to more than 100.

Boris Johnson was not thought to be among them, though none of the names were revealed by the force.