Sadiq Khan ‘not at all’ interested in leading the Labour Party if Starmer goes

The London Mayor praised the stance taken by his party leader over the police investigation into so-called beergate.

05 June 2022

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has denied he has ambitions to lead the Labour Party in the event Sir Keir Starmer is forced to stand down.

Opposition leader Sir Keir has vowed to “put everything on the line” by promising to quit if he receives a fixed-penalty notice following a police probe into so-called beergate.

However, Mr Khan, despite being hotly tipped as a possible successor, said he was “not at all” interested in succeeding Sir Keir.

In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, the capital’s leader contrasted the approach taken by the leadership of his party and that of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor when it came to responding to police investigations into lockdown gatherings they were involved with.

Sir Keir and his deputy Angela Rayner have both pledged to quit their roles if Durham Constabulary fines them as part of an investigation into a gathering and takeaway curry held in party offices while Covid restrictions were in place.

The Labour leader was pictured drinking a beer in an MP’s office after a day of campaigning for the local elections in Durham in April 2021, with Ms Rayner also at the event.

Non-essential retail and outdoor venues including pub gardens were open at the time in the North East but social distancing rules – which included a ban on indoor mixing between households – remained in place.

Mr Khan, asked whether he would look to become the next Labour leader if Sir Keir is forced to resign, said: “No. But it is a good compare and contrast about the integrity of Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner versus Johnson and Sunak.

“The public should understand that one of these characters, Boris Johnson, presided over a culture of law-breaking.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to stand down if fined by police looking into whether so-called Beergate breached Covid rules
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to stand down if fined by police looking into whether so-called beergate breached Covid rules (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“The other guy has the integrity to say, ‘You know what? If there is a fixed-penalty notice, I’ll quit’.”

Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak both received a fine for attending the Prime Minister’s surprise birthday bash in Downing Street in June 2020 when indoor mixing was banned.

They paid the fine and apologised to the public but neither tendered their resignation.

Later in the interview, pressed about whether he had ambitions to lead Labour, Mr Khan replied: “Not at all.”

Sir Keir answered questions for the first time on Saturday since receiving a questionnaire from Durham Police about the beergate incident.

The former director of public prosecutions told PA news agency his “position hasn’t changed” in light of the development.

“I’ve been clear that no rules were broken and I’ve nothing really to add,” he said.

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