Keir Sterner faces allegations of sleaze over his ‘use of the Commons office to party political campaigning’

  • Sir Keir was accused of breaking the code of conduct for MPs
  • Last year, the taxpayer-funded Office for “Call Keir” Zoom Calls was launched
  • The common code of conduct states that public resources should be used to support duties. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was dragged into the MPs’ sleaze row last night for allegedly using his Commons office for party political campaigning.

He faced claims that he may have broken the MPs’ code of conduct by using his taxpayer-funded office for ‘Call Keir’ Zoom calls.

The Labour leader was pictured in his Westminster HQ launching a programme of ‘virtual public meetings’ last year.

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer makes his opening remarks for the session at the beginning of the first "Call Keir" online meeting

The opening remarks of Keir Starmer, Leader of Labour Party, are made at the end of the online “Call Keir” meeting.

According to party supporters, that first event, in spring 2020, was followed by a second ‘Call Keir’ meeting in the Labour leader’s office in October last year.

The programme of hour-long Zoom meetings was advertised on the Labour Party website as events where ‘Keir Starmer will listen to and answer questions from the public’.

However, the Commons code of conduct states that ‘Members shall ensure that their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties’.

Last night, Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will be angry that facilities they have funded are being used for party political purposes.

Politicians need to remember that they serve at the electorate’s pleasure and should not abuse voters’ and taxpayers’ trust.

The rules must apply equally to all members, regardless of rank, and if broken appropriate punishments should be handed down.’

But Labour stressed that the first event was held at the height of the original Covid lockdown in 2020, and said: ‘There have been no rules broken. Engaging with the public is a fundamental part of leading Her Majesty’s Opposition.’ke

Barrister Sir Keir was accused of not taking a second lucrative job in Mischon de Reya law firm because Jeremy Corbyn, his former leader, had advised him to. But Sir Keir’s office has insisted he himself took the decision not to take the job.

Meanwhile, Labour has accused Boris Johnson of ‘running away again’ from sleaze allegations by stifling further debate on the damning standards report that he tried to block.

Last week, barrister Sir Keir faced claims that he did not take a lucrative second job at law firm Mischon de Reya in 2017 because then leader Jeremy Corbyn had told him not to. Pictured on November 8 in the House of Commons

Barrister Sir Keir, who was facing claims that he didn’t take a lucrative second position at Mischon de Reya Law Firm in 2017, because Jeremy Corbyn (then leader) had warned him not to. Picture taken in the House of Commons, November 8, 2017.

Tomorrow, MPs will approve the Standards Committee report which found Tory senior Owen Paterson guilty by paid advocacy. It called for Mr Paterson’s expulsion from the House and for him to be reinstated as an MP for a period of 30 days.

This would be Johnson’s embarrassing U-turn after his attempt to stop the Paterson Report collapsed ten day ago.

Labour protested, claiming that the motion was to be made at the end of tomorrow’s proceedings with no opportunity for discussion.

Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson was ‘running away again’ from the row.