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boris johnson

Keir Starmer’s Offer To Quit Doesn’t Mean The PM Has To, Minister Says

today10 May 2022 1

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Keir Starmer’s promise to resign if he is fined over beergate does not mean that Boris Johnson also has to quit, a minister has said.

After days of pressure and mounting questions, Starmer confirmed on Monday afternoon that he would step down as Labour leader if fined over a gathering he attended after campaigning in Durham last year.

The move has raised questions about whether Johnson — who has already been fined by the Metropolitan Police — would have to follow suit.

But policing minister Kit Malthouse rejected suggestions that Starmer’s decision would inevitably force Johnson’s hand.

Asked on LBC if the PM would have to resign if Starmer decided to quit, Malthouse said: “Not necessarily, no.

“Obviously in any situation where, you know, the rules were moving around, there were misunderstandings or mistakes were made, and apologies are made and they are accepted, then people of all walks of life should be able to keep their jobs.

“But Keir Starmer has to speak for himself and set his own standards.”

Malthouse later told the BBC’s Today programme: “As far as I’m concerned the rules were moving around, if mistakes were made, if apologies were made, I’m not sure that anybody be they so humble should lose their job over a fixed penalty notice.

“I don’t know what Keir Starmer is attempting to do, whether he’s attempting to turn what is obviously slightly a mysterious situation into a sort of political one, I don’t know.

“In the end we have to leave space and time for Durham Police to do their job, which I know they’ll do with professionalism and exactitude. And once they’ve reached their conclusion he can decide what he wants to do.”

In his announcement, Starmer made it clear he believed “no rules were broken” but promised to resign if Durham police chose to fine him for attending the gathering in April 2021.

There have been mounting questions over the Labour leader’s conduct after he was pictured drinking a beer after campaigning during last year’s local elections.

It later came to light that a curry had also been ordered late at night and that up to 30 people may have been at the event, prompting Durham police to open an investigation.

At the time of the gathering, the ban on indoor mixing between households remained in place but there was an exemption for “work purposes”.

Starmer has denied wrongdoing as he simply “stopped for something to eat” during the working day.

“I am absolutely clear that no laws were broken,” he said.

“They were followed at all times. I simply had something to eat while working late in the evening as any politician would do days before an election.

“If the police decided to issue me with a fixed penalty notice I would course do the right thing and step down.”

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