FILE - Leader of the British Labour Party Keir Starmer gestures as he makes his keynote speech at the annual party conference in Brighton, England, Sept. 29, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.04.2022SubscribeUSIndiaGlobalSvetlana EkimenkoAll materialsWrite to the authorBritish Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was photographed “drinking and socializing” at an MP’s office when the coronavirus lockdown rules banned households from mixing indoors. However, last year he was cleared of breaching any rules by Durham Constabulary.UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer could face a fresh police probe for chugging beer with colleagues during COVID-19 lockdown, reported the Daily Mail.As Scotland Yard is issuing Fixed Penalty Notices to politicians and officials for breaking COVID-19 lockdown laws while working in Downing Street and Whitehall, Richard Holden, Tory MP for North West Durham, believes that Starmer’s case should be re-evaluated.In photos that re-surfaced in January 2021, Starmer was shown drinking a beer with staff in the office of City of Durham MP Mary Foy last April. The footage, originally published in spring 2021, had been captured through the window of a building in Durham in the run up to Hartlepool byelection. Starmer could be seen holding a bottle of beer while standing close to two people, with two more individuals seen in the background, at a time when strict coronavirus lockdown rules banned indoor mixing between different households. The sole exception was work purposes.FILE PHOTO: Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer arrives for the remembrance mass of MP David Amess, who was stabbed to death during a meeting with constituents, at Westminster Cathedral in London, Britain, November 23, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.02.2022UK Police Will ‘Take No Further Action’ Against Labour’s Starmer After Probe Into Drinking PhotoDurham Constabulary had confirmed in Fenruary 2021 that it did not believe an offence was committed after reviewing the afore-mentioned footage of the Labour leader.However, the “partygate” row has been gaining fresh traction since PM Boris Johnson, together with his wife Carrie and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak received Fixed Penalty Notices from the Metropolitan Police. The fines of £50 each were issued over a surprise birthday party for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 that was ruled to have breached COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. More penalties are anticipated to be issued next month.According to Richard Holden, there is strong public interest in reviewing the case against Keir Starmer.“I do not believe the photographed activity meets the “functional but not social” test in the guidance on political campaigning in campaign rooms,” Holden wrote to Durham’s Chief Constable, Jo Farrell, reported the Daily Mail.After the footage was first published in the Daily Mail, Keir Starmer had argued that “it was perfectly lawful to meet for work” at a time when the country was in step two of the road map out of the third lockdown.“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,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, referencing Downing Street’s now infamous “bring your own booze” party on 20 May 2020.There has not yet been any official comment from either the UK Labour party or Durham Constabulary.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to address a press conference prior to his departure, in New Delhi, Friday, April 22, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.04.2022Boris Johnson’s Ally Compares Him to Jesus in Trying to Defend PM Over ‘Partygate’ RowAmid the current controversy involving Boris Johnson, Starmer has led the chorus of voices insisting that the Prime Minister “misled” parliament over the partygate scandal. The Labour leader called the prime minister “a man without shame” during an exchange in the Commons, as Johnson addressed MPs for the first time since receiving a fixed-penalty notice from Scotland Yard. Johnson said it had not occurred to him that the gathering in June 2020 was a breach of coronavirus rules.However, the Labour leader accused the PM of dishonesty and failure to “respect the sacrifice of the British public”.Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons to make a statement about Downing Street parties during the coronavirus lockdowns in London, Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.04.2022Boris Johnson to Face Probe Into Whether He Lied to MPs About PartygateUK parliament has since triggered an investigation in order to determine whether Johnson misled MPs regarding his involvement in lockdown parties held in Downing Street. The push for what is now the third “partygate” probe was led by the Labour Party, with the MPs greenlighting the motion on 21 April.



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