Keir Starmer’s beergate story unravels

Keir Starmer’s beergate story unravels
Keir Starmer in 2020 (Photo: Getty)
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Uh oh, it looks like things are getting uncomfortable for Keir Starmer. This week the Labour leader was hoping to turn the national conversation towards the cost of living crisis and the poor Tory showing in the local elections. Instead the hapless opposition leader has become embroiled in a ‘beergate’ scandal of his own – after the Labour leader was pictured drinking beer at a campaign event in April 2021, when lockdown restrictions were in place.

This week Durham police announced that it was opening an investigation into an alleged lockdown breach at the event – which Starmer has continued to insist was a work event and not a party.

It looks like that story could be beginning to unravel though. Today, the Mail on Sunday has obtained a leaked memo from the campaign event which appears to call some of Starmer’s story into question.

Ever since the beergate allegations re-emerged, Starmer has insisted that Labour activists were merely taking a break from work to eat a delivered curry, even though the photo was taken around 10pm. Or as Starmer told Good Morning Britain on Wednesday:

‘That evening, from memory, we were doing an online event for members because we had this “get out the vote” thing. At some point, this was in the evening, everybody’s hungry and then that takeaway was ordered. It was then delivered into the kitchen of the offices. So this was brought in and at various points people went through the kitchen, got a plate, had some food to eat and got on with their work.’

But now a leaked operational note – which details the Labour leader’s timings for the day – appears to show that the dinner in question was planned as the last event of the day before the activists returned to their hotel. In other words, Starmer’s insistence that members were working through the meal doesn’t seem to stand up.

This isn’t the first part of Starmer’s story to not quite add up. Earlier this week Labour was forced to admit that Angela Rayner had attend the beergate event as well, even though the party had told reporters that this was not the case.

The Sunday Times also quotes a Labour source at the event who confirmed that no work was done after the curry and beer. The paper says that the source is willing to help Durham police with their enquiries.

All of this would be bad enough. But Starmer has been hammering the point home for weeks that Boris Johnson should resign over the partygate allegations – and that even the Prime Minister being investigated by the police is a resignation worthy offence.

Keir Starmer better watch out. That curry on an April night in Durham could be about to become the most expensive takeaway of his life.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this articlePolitics