Sir Keir Starmer, a political activist accused of violating Covid’s guidance that forbade them from meeting inside during the last year’s local elections was accused last night.
Just days before the election, Labour’s leader was seen enjoying beer with his Labour counterparts in Durham.
The event – which Sir Keir said was for the purposes of ‘running an election campaign’ – took place even though ‘step two’ rules banned household mixing indoors.
Pictured with Labour colleagues at a Durham constituency office last April, Sir Keir starmer was seen enjoying beer just days before voting.
It has been revealed that this event could have also violated local electoral guidelines.
According to this guidance, campaigners are not allowed to meet indoors. There should also be no use of committee rooms for any social purpose.
This also stipulated that campaign organizing should be performed online, and shouldn’t take place in person.
Yesterday Sir Keir did not apologize three times for attending the meeting. He also denies he is a hypocrite, after being called by a radio station and claiming that he had done the exact same thing as Boris Johnson.
Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, demanded that Labour’s leader be excused for his conduct, much as the Prime Minster had.
David Morris Tory MP said that: “The guidelines covering 2021 local elections which Labour Party was consult on is clear: You should not meet other campaigners indoors.”
Yesterday, Sir Keir declined three times to apologize for being present at the meeting and also denied that he was hypocritical after an anonymous caller said that he did ‘exactly’ the same as Boris Johnson.
“Sir Keir must explain to us why he was able to drink inside with his friends and ignore the warnings.”
According to a senior Conservative source, “The smell of hypocrisy emanating from Sir Beer is becoming more pungent every day.”
“He has been quick to condemn people who meet outdoors at this time, but he thinks that it is perfectly fine for him to have a beer with his friends indoors. Labour claimed that no rules were broken.
According to a spokesperson, Keir observes the rules at all costs.
According to the March 2013 local elections guidelines, you shouldn’t meet up with other campaigners inside.
It is safer to have outdoor meetings, because the chance of Covid-19 spreading is less. But, it’s important that two-metre separation be maintained.
The article stated that meetings to plan and organize campaigns must be conducted online. These meetings should be conducted online and over the phone.
Pictured: Sir Keir. He was accused of violating Covid’s guidance that banned political campaigners meeting inside during the last year’s local elections.
This guidance cautioned against committee rooms and stated that such activities should not be social. It’s against the law for anyone to socially meet indoors with someone not within your support circle or household.
Yesterday’s appearance by Sir Keir on Nick Ferrari’s LBC Radio program, in which he stated that it was done for campaigning purposes.
He was confronted by a caller, identified only as Jonathan from Taunton, who said: “You’ve been vocal and vocal in your criticisms of Boris Johnson and his behavior with regard to the parties that either he’s attended or hasn’t attended.
“And yet, you have done exactly what I did. Despite the fact that you may phrase it differently, you did exactly what you were asked to.
“You were alone in a room, with lots of people. You weren’t socially distant.” You don’t need to wear facemasks. Drinking beer. It’s late at night. The same.
“And therefore, you should also resign in case you call for Boris Johnson’s resignation or offer a complete and fullhearted apology to all and quit being a hypocrite.”
Sir Keir responded: “The photo of me was taken in a North East constituency office. The May election was three days or four away, so it was very busy. My team and I travelled across the country, going from one place to another.
“We’re in the office doing our job and stop for takeout. Then we went back to work. This is it.
“There were no violations of the rules.” It was not possible to compare the Prime Minister with any party.
Sir Keir declined to apologize three times for the ‘looks’ of the photographs. He replied, “We did not break any laws.” “I understand the situation here, but there comes a time when the Tories want to drag everyone down with them.”
Speaking earlier on LBC, Mr Zahawi said: ‘What I saw in that video is Keir Starmer swigging a bottle of beer, other people around him indoors – not even in an outdoor space.
“I don’t understand how he could distinguish that it was different to what the Prime minister went to in his backyard to motivate his workforce.
“As someone who lost a close friend, the only thing I expected was an apology. There was no apology with this – he tried to just bulldoze his way through.
‘We expect our politicians to be held to high standards and when you’ve made a mistake – it looks from that video like Keir Starmer made a mistake – he should apologise for it.’
Martin Lewis, a consumer rights advocate said on BBC Politics Live: “Keir Starmer should take a close look at his actions and decide if he shouldn’t be saying that he couldn’t get it right.”
He added, “The difference is that Keir Starmer doesn’t make the rules. Boris Johnson makes the rules.”
Witchfinder General, self-professed Covid parties We must apologize
Commentary from Tom Harris, an ex Labour MP
British citizens don’t enjoy being preached at and bullied. We don’t enjoy it when politicians who are self-righteous break the rules they have set for everyone else.
Until last week, this was an accusation thrown – with some justification – by Labour at Boris Johnson and other members of his Downing Street operation, as the scandal of ‘Partygate’ has unfolded.
This accusation now has a embarrassing resurgence at KeirStarmer. The weekend revealed that Keir Starmer, a Labour leader, shared some jolly drinks at the local elections campaign last year with his colleague and staff.
Indoor mixing among different households was strictly forbidden, with the exception of in-work situations. It was also illegal to drink indoors in public places.
Last April’s event at Durham saw the government encouraging people to work remotely whenever possible.
Starmer appears to have ignored these limitations. As the Daily Mail revealed today, Starmer seems to have flouted these restrictions.
Using ‘committee rooms’ at all – thought to include constituency offices such as the one the beer-swigging Starmer was pictured in – needed to be ‘rigorously considered’, according to government guidance.
If such rooms were used, the document continued, this should be only ‘in accordance with the prevailing guidance on gathering and hygiene and social distancing…any such activity should be functional and not social’.
The campaigners should wear masks on their faces and activities “should be organized one-by-one.”
Needless to say, this does not cover quaffing drinks and laughing your unmasked head off with a large group of people – windows shut.
Starmer appears to have ignored the guidelines on campaigning that he ought to be following to the letter. What ‘work’ was required in the room to accomplish what Starmer couldn’t do from home?
Starmer insists that there were no violations of rules on April 30, 2020. Yesterday, Starmer told radio station that yesterday while working, a delivery truck came by and they stopped for a bite.
“We didn’t break any rules. We did nothing wrong.”
So he insists that he does not need to apologize. It’s not Labour leader who is arrogant here, but the Prime Minister.
And as I was a Labour MP for 14 years – I know what the run-up to elections is like. This is a difficult and stressful time with long hours.
What is it about local elections that requires alcohol-fuelled social mix? Boris Johnson stated that he considered his Downing Street party in 2020 a work event.
Starmer, however, refused to accept the prime minister’s word. Starmer instead called him a lying liar, and piously asked him for his resignation. Boris, on the other hand, rejected the embarrassing apology that he offered the Commons, and the country, for what had transpired under his supervision.
God knows that the Prime Minister is not perfect. Starmer may have indulged in his self-righteous talk a little too often over the past few days.
Even his official spokesman intones that her boss ‘follows the rules at all times… honesty and decency are non-negotiable for him’.
It is risky for a politician, to portray himself as St Francis of Assisiii’s reincarnation. Why? Your unimpeachable moral goodness is going to become a reality sooner than you think.
Like all human beings, you will make a mistake – and if you’ve hoisted yourself up on to a giant pedestal, there will be plenty only too willing to shove you off it and roll you into the harbour.
Starmer is not the hypocrite.
His greater risk is that voters – especially the swing voters he needs to target – are likely to conclude all politicians are the same.
That conclusion would undermine the progress he knows he has made as leader – including leap-frogging the Government in recent polls.
And that’s why he probably feels he has no choice – even as the evidence against him mounts – to continue to insist he has done nothing wrong.
This month, Sir Keir was earlier in the month. He has repeatedly insisted no rules were broken on April 30, 2021
It is possible that it was true that Sir Keir didn’t violate Covid rules during that night of beer in Durham.
But in the court of public opinion – rather than the more high-minded courts with which Starmer is most familiar – technicalities don’t matter.
As spin-doctors claim, the “optics” are everything. Starmer is now the Witchfinder of Government Partygate Works. He has clearly broken all the rules he attempted to apply to everyone and mercilessly held on to the Prime Minister.
He must now apologise. The Labour leader, after all, has demanded ever-tougher restrictions throughout the pandemic.
Those who make or seek to make the rules that govern our lives need to stick to them – and look like they do. Anything less risks undermining democracy.
Millions followed these rules for nearly two decades. Some were punished and shamed for violating them on social media. Starmer should apologize to these two groups.
The judge has made serious mistakes. We must not forget that many of the ever-changing regulations in the UK, which were implemented differently across the country over several months, can be confusing, inconsistent, and difficult to understand. Starmer must have read the particular document about elections published by the government on March 25, 2021 amid all other Covid restrictions.
It has been difficult to stick with the rules due to their ever-changing nature. These rules were created by politicians but are still subject to human interpretation and whim.
Starmer understands all of this. How refreshing it would be if he now came forward and admitted that he made a mistake – while pointing out the inconsistencies in those same rules.
I won’t join the calls for his resignation. This tactic is becoming more popular in contemporary politics.
Although I have not called for public resignations, it would be helpful if they stopped making such calls all the time.
Starmer and his party should take a breather from this unfortunate episode, if that is what I hope. My decades-long membership has taught me that Labour is driven to be the moral superior on every issue.
They can’t just argue about policy; they must also assert Harold Wilson’s misguided maxim that Labour is nothing if not moral crusade.
However, it is not. Labour is just another party that wants to be a political party, and it’s trying to win the presidency.
As Sir Keir, the former prosecutor, knows. Labour doesn’t believe anyone can be perfect.
If only Starmer would now see that inconsistency – and tell the country he is sorry.
TOM HARRIS served as Labour’s MP for Glasgow South between 2001 and 2015.