29 April 2022 | NEWS
The Labour Party has been forced into an embarrassing retraction after it was proved that Shadow Duchy of Lancaster was at an event where the Labour leader is alleged to have broken the lockdown restrictions.
It has transpired that Shadow Cabinet Minister Angela Rayner was present during a gathering in April 2021, at a time when indoor socialising had been banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event first made headlines after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was pictured drinking a beer in the office of Labour MP Mary Foy in Durham.
Following the fines handed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, for a similar offence of socialising at work, there have been calls for the Durham Police to investigate the events at the Durham office and Sir Keir Starmer’s role in them. This was prior to the revelation that Angela Rayner was at the premises during the alleged rule-breaking.
The Durham Police force are under a different jurisdiction to the Metropolitan Police operating in London, which explains the disparity in handing out the fines for lockdown breaches. There have been calls to make the way fines are handed out by the different forces across the country more universal.
According to The Daily Mail, a Labour official claimed earlier this year that Angela Rayner had not been at the event in Durham attended by Sir Starmer. They said: “Goodness me, with all that’s going on. It’s an old story! Angela wasn’t there. It was Mary Foy’s office.”
However, following an investigation, it appears that Ms Rayner did indeed address the Durham Miners in an online rally, speaking minutes after the Labour leader had finished addressing them. It appears that both had been speaking from the same location after the backdrops seemed to match one another.
The revelation has forced a Labour spokesman to say last night that “Angela was present”, despite party officials having previously denied this.
In January, Sir Keir defended his participation in the event in Durham, claiming: “We were working in the office. We stopped for something to eat and then we carried on working. No party, no breach of the rules and absolutely no comparison with the Prime Minister.”
However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace went on the attack following the fines being handed out to the Prime Minister and the re-emergence of the evidence from the alleged rule-breaking event attended by Starmer and Rayner.
Mr Wallace has argued the case for a police investigation into the matter saying: “A consistency of the application of the law, that’s what we all deserve – whether we’re in London or whether we’re in Durham.”