UK Labour Leader Denies Breaking COVID-19 Rules Over Office Beer

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UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has refused to apologise after images emerged of him drinking beer in an office in April 2021, insisting that he did not break COVID-19 rules.

Starmer was pictured having a drink in the office of Mary Foy, Labour MP for the City of Durham, on April 30, 2021, when indoor socialising was banned in England under CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus rules.

But he denied he broke the rules, saying that he was working in an election campaign in the run-up to May’s local elections and the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election.

Starmer told LBC radio on Jan. 17: “The picture of me was in a constituency office up in the north east. It was, I think, three or four days before the May elections, so we’re really busy. I was with my team going across the country from place to place. We’re in the office, working in the office, and we stopped for a takeaway, and then we carried on working and that is the long and the short of it.”

He said no restaurants or pubs were open and the hotel he and his colleagues were staying in did not serve food, so “if you didn’t get a takeaway then our team wasn’t eating that evening.”

Last week, the Labour leader demanded that Boris Johnson should resign after the prime minister admitted he attended a gathering in the Downing Street garden in May 2020, when COVID-19 rules banned groups from meeting socially outdoors.

But Starmer denied that his action was in any way comparable to that of Johnson. “There was no breach of the rules. There was no party. And there was absolutely no comparison with the prime minister,” he said.

“The restrictions allowed people to work when they needed to, we were running an election campaign, we were in a constituency office,” he added.

Talking to BBC Breakfast, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi called for Starmer to apologise for the beer-drinking incident, saying it is “only right” that people expect “very high standards from their leaders.”

But Starmer insisted he “did nothing wrong.”

“We didn’t break any rules, we were working in the office and we stopped for a takeaway,” he told LBC.

During the radio interview, Starmer renewed his call for the prime minister to go.

“I think that it’s in the national interest that Boris Johnson goes now,” he said. “We’re still in the pandemic and it’s very important that people behave in the way that we need them to behave, but he has lost the authority to ask people to do so.”

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Zhang

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