Police insist no investigation of Sir Keir Starmer over lockdown breach claims

He was videoed drinking a beer during a visit to Durham almost exactly a year ago.

28 April 2022

Durham Police has insisted it is not currently investigating claims Sir Keir Starmer broke lockdown rules, despite coming under political pressure to do so.

The force was urged by Tory MP Richard Holden to reopen its inquiry into the Labour leader’s visit to Durham city in the run-up to the Hartlepool by-election in April 2021, when Sir Keir was videoed drinking a bottle of beer inside.

Mr Holden, who represents North West Durham, urged the force to reconsider in light of the Metropolitan Police’s decision to fine the Prime Minister for attending his birthday bash in Downing Street.

Richard Holden court case
Richard Holden (Joe Giddens/PA)

Durham Police issued a statement on Thursday saying it had received “a number of further communications”, which it will respond to in due course, but that it was not currently investigating the matter.

In February, the force said no further action would be taken.

The statement said: “Earlier this year, Durham Constabulary undertook a review of video footage recorded in Durham on April 30, 2021.

“We stated that we did not believe an offence has been established in relation to the legislation and guidance in place at the time the footage was taken and would therefore take no further action in relation to the matter.

“We have since received a number of further communications relating to this matter and will now consider the contents of those communications and respond in due course.

“For clarity, Durham Constabulary is not currently investigating this incident.”

Durham’s Labour Police and Crime Commissioner wanted to leave the matter to the force.

Joy Allen said: “This is an operational matter and as such I have left the force to deal with the investigation as it is their job and I do not, and will not, interfere.”

Mary Foy, the City of Durham MP whose office Sir Keir was visiting, was approached for comment but media requests were directed to the Labour Party press team, who did not respond to a request for a statement earlier.

Labour previously said the incident where the leader was filmed drinking a beer was a “work event”.

Sir Keir has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong.

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