'Boris said sorry, Keir should too': Zahawi blasts Labour leader over partygate

17 January 2022, 08:30 | Updated: 17 January 2022, 09:02

By Emma Soteriou

Nadhim Zahawi has told LBC that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer should apologise just as Boris Johnson did, after a clip surfaced of him having a beer on a break with staff.

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Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at breakfast, Mr Zahawi called for the Labour leader to apologise.

He cited the Prime Minister's apology for attending a party on 20 May 2020, and went on to criticise Sir Keir Starmer's actions: "What I saw in that video is Keir Starmer, swigging a bottle of beer, other people around him, indoors and it looked like it was 10pm at night.

"So I don't know how he can say that was a different type of event to what the Prime Minister went to in his garden."

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The Education Secretary explained: "As someone who's lost a loved one, all I'd expect is an apology.

"There was no apology," he said, "The way he tried to effectively bulldose his way through this thing without apologising.

"We expect our politicians and our leaders to be held to high standards and when you've made a mistake - and I think from that video that he made a mistake - he should apologise for it."

However, Sir Keir has refused to apologise as of yet and, when asked about the content, he told the Sunday Morning programme: "I was in a constituency office just days before the election.

"We were very busy. We were working in the office.

"We stopped for something to eat and then we carried on working.

"No party, no breach of the rules and absolutely no comparison with the Prime Minister."

It is the latest in a long line of allegations as a part of the partygate scandal, which has mostly seen Boris Johnson and the Tories under fire for holding gatherings while the country was locked down due to Covid restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021.

Mr Johnson gave a humiliating apology in a statement to the Commons on Wednesday, saying he had believed the party was instead a "work event".

His office also apologised to the Queen for a do that was held on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral, which the monarch attended alone under Covid rules.

The PM is said to be fighting to keep the keys to No10 by launching "Operation Save Big Dog", according to reports.

The bid to save his premiereship will include an announcement putting the military in charge of preventing small boats from crossing the Channel, The Times reported.

A change being considered could, according to the newspaper, include processing asylum seekers in Ghana and Rwanda, although the Home Office would not be drawn on such suggestions.

Other touted policy announcements include attempts to reduce the NHS backlog and freeze the BBC licence fee for two years.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries hinted that the current model for funding the public broadcaster could be scrapped altogether.

Covid Plan B is also expected to come to an end on January 26, in a further attempt to win the public over again.

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