Labor leader Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner will not be fined for attending an indoor rally dubbed “beergate”, meaning the pair don’t have to fall on their swords.
In a statement on Friday, Durham Constabulary said the event did not breach coronavirus lockdown regulations as it was deemed “reasonably necessary for business purposes”.
“As a result, Durham Constabulary will not issue any fixed penalty notices in relation to the gathering and no further action will be taken,” the force added.
An investigation into the event was opened on May 6, nearly a year after footage first emerged of Starmer drinking beer with other party members during a campaign break for the by-election of May 2021 in Hartlepool on April 30, 2021.
It later emerged that Rayner had also been at the event. Durham Constabulary’s statement reveals there were 17 participants in total at the rally.
On May 9, the two men pledged to step down from their leadership roles in case they were fined by the gendarmerie, while claiming throughout the process that no rules had been broken.
A Labor Party spokesman welcomed the news, saying: “Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have always been clear that no rules were broken at Durham. Police have completed their investigation and have agreed that there was no case to answer.”
Starmer tweeted: “For me it has always been a matter of principle. Honesty and integrity matters. You will always get that from me.”
The decision strengthens Labour’s position ahead of another torrid week in British politics, with the opposition party pledging to call a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government next week as Prime Minister seeks to retain power while the Conservative Party chooses his successor.