AN appeal for officers to re-investigate an alleged breach of coronavirus rules by Labour leader Keir Starmer has been relaunched after Boris Johnson received a fine last month.

The plea has been spearheaded by County Durham MP Richard Holden who urged Durham police to rethink its decision into whether Mr Starmer is guilty of an offence after photographs emerged of him drinking beer in the constituency office of Durham MP, Mary Foy, in April 2021.

Although police already cleared Starmer of breaching rules by “drinking and socialising” in an MP’s office while household mixing was off-limits, Holden called on officers to look again.

Read more: Tory MP wants police to 're-investigate' alleged Covid breach of Labour leader in Durham

The call has divided opinion among readers of The Northern Echo, with some calling for a similar investigation that the Prime Minister faced.

But a poll on The Northern Echo website which asked if Durham police should reopen their probe into Keir Starmer swung in the favour of Mr Holden's appeal. Of more than 8,000 votes cast 72 per cent voted yes while 28 per cent voted no by 3pm on Sunday.

One reader said: “Probably worth adding is the fact that the current contention is not about partygate but Boris misleading parliament. The Starmer issue is rather a sideshow. It seems to me that the Conservative’s line of attack now is less about defending Johnson and more about attacking Starmer.”

Another reader doesn’t see the need for a new investigation. They said: “Following the Chief Constable saying that she didn't interview Cummings because of his "character", I don't suppose she'll be opening any cases.”

Another commented: “The police have investigated. No new 'evidence' from Holden. So just an attempt (and a transparent one!) to create a smokescreen. Can the man be so stupid!”

One person leapt to the defence of Mr Starmer, saying: “Fact is, this photo is May 2021 - a FULL YEAR after the Downing Street garden party. Keir is having a drink with his take-away dinner during a brief pause from working in a private office. Completely within the rules.”

The Northern Echo: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was last year cleared of an allegation he broke lockdown rules after he was filmed drinking a beer in an office in Durham.Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was last year cleared of an allegation he broke lockdown rules after he was filmed drinking a beer in an office in Durham.

“Anyone can google "Boris Johnson Hartlepool pub" and find images in the SAME week, in the SAME by-election campaign, of Boris Johnson pulling pints maskless in a Hartlepool pub,” another user added. “That WAS against the rules, by the way!”

However, not everyone agreed and instead defended Boris Johnson as he faces the prospect of further fines.

A reader expressed their sympathy with Mr Johnson and everything he has gone through.

Read more: Keir Starmer in the clear over beer in Durham MP's office

They said: “Well at the risk of being shot down in flames I actually feel a little sorry for Boris Johnson, he has had the hardest job of any prime minister since the Second World War. He got Brexit over the line (which whether you’re a remainer or a leaver you have to agree was asked for by the British public in a referendum) then the Covid pandemic which yes the government could have done some things better ( hindsight a wonderful thing) but all in all I think they did a good job.

“The vaccine rollout was world leading, and now the War in Ukraine, I don’t know how the man sleeps at night, the media have never liked him and that’s why they keep bleating on about the gatherings.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054