Starmer Vows to Quit if Fined Over 'Beergate' COVID-19 Rule-Breaking
15:13 GMT 09.05.2022 (Updated: 15:59 GMT 09.05.2022)
© AFP 2023 / JUSTIN TALLISBritain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner sit in the conference hall for the the debate on the leadership election rules changes, on the second day of the annual Labour Party conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton on the south coast of England, on September 26, 2021
© AFP 2023 / JUSTIN TALLIS
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has made demands for PM Boris Johnson to resign over the so-called 'Partygate' allegations the centrepiece of his strategy as opposition leader, while voting in favour of government COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and backing a ban on Russian oil and gas imports that threatens poverty for millions.
British opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to resign if he is fined for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules.
The Labour leader told reporters that he would step down if the recently-reopened Durham Constabulary probe into a party gathering in Durham in April 2021 saw him issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) fine.
"If the police decide to issue me with a Fixed Penalty Notice, I would of course do the right thing and step down," Starmer said.
The announcement had already been widely trailed in the media by Labour sources.
Starmer has spent months demanding in vain that Prime Minister Boris Johnson resign after receiving a similar penalty — equivalent to a parking ticket or littering fine — over a surprise birthday party at Downing Street in June 2020.
"Since the first coronavirus lockdown, I've always followed the rules," Starmer claimed. "I had to isolate six times during COVID, pulling me away from my work and the things that I love."
"I believe in honour, integrity and the principle that those who make the laws should follow them," he said.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, also present at the press conference, said she would do the same if fined for her attendance at the event last year — which party officials had repeatedly denied until evidence emerged in recent weeks.
9 May 2022, 11:54 GMT
A straw Twitter poll found readers of political gossip site Guido Fawkes overwhelmingly believed Starmer should resign, but were divided on whether he should go now or wait for the results of the police investigation.
© Twitter/@GuidoFawkesTwitter poll on whether Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer should resign for breaking COVID lockdown rules
Twitter poll on whether Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer should resign for breaking COVID lockdown rules
Starmer may be banking on earlier statements by the Durham police that they do not issue FPNs retrospectively.
But the Metropolitan Police also made a U-turn on its initial decision not to launch an after-the-fact probe into the 'Partygate' allegations against Johnson and his Downing Street staff.