Sir Keir Starmer will commit to resigning if police find he broke Covid laws, Labour leader says

Sir Keir Starmer has said he will “do the right thing and step down” as Labour leader if he is fined by police over an allegation he broke coronavirus laws.

The Opposition leader repeatedly denied breaking the laws in a televised statement, shown on Monday, May 9, as he faces pressure over a curry and beer “gathering” in Durham last year, which took place during campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

He accused the Conservatives who said he broke lockdown rules of “trying to feed cynicism to get the public to believe all politicians are the same”.

The British public deserves politicians who “put the country first rather than themselves”, Sir Keir continued.

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“But if the police decide to issue me with a fixed penalty notice I would of course do the right thing and step down,” he said on Monday.

“This matters. It matters because the British public deserve politicians who think the rules apply to them," his statement added.

“They deserve politicians who hold themselves to the highest standards. And they deserve politicians who put the country first rather than themselves. They will always, always get that from me.”

After his statement, Sir Keir was asked by Sky News political editor Beth Rigby why it took him so long to set out his position.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer makes a statement outside Labour Party headquarters in London. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

The Labour leader reiterated that no rules were broken, and said: “I have been absolutely clear about that from start to finish. And I have set out today the in principle position that I believe in.

"Unlike those at Downing Street, I don’t think those that make the laws can then simply breach them and not take action.

“I believe that if you’ve made a law you should respect the law. And if you’re found to be in breach of it, you should step down and that’s what I’ve set out clearly this afternoon.”

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Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner also said she will resign if she is fined.

She added: “I’ve always been clear that I was at the event in Durham working in my capacity as deputy leader and that no rules were broken.

“Eating during a long day’s work was not against the rules. We have a Prime Minister who has been found to have broken the rules, lied about it and then been fined.”