A TORY MP’s claim that police are ‘leaving the door open’ to re-examine allegations Keir Starmer broke lockdown rules have been dismissed as ‘misleading’.

Durham Constabulary has previously said they do not believe any offence was committed last year when the Labour leader was pictured with a beer in the office of Durham City MP Mary Foy in the run-up to the Hartlepool by-election.

Richard Holden, MP for North-West Durham, wrote to the force last week asking them to reconsider in light of the Metropolitan Police’s decision to fine the Prime Minister for attending his birthday bash in Downing Street.

On Wednesday, Mr Holden shared a letter from the Durham force’s deputy chief constable on social media, which contained the line: “I will make inquiries with the investigation team and will update you at the point at which I have been able to conclude those inquiries.”

The Northern Echo:

He commented: “Breaking. Durham Police leave door open to re-examining as Durham Deputy Chief Constable to ‘make enquiries’ with investigation team against Starmer.”

A Labour spokesman said it was wrong to characterise the letter as suggesting an investigation into whether Sir Keir broke coronavirus rules last April was being re-examined.

Asked for the difference between Sir Keir’s actions and Boris Johnson’s, he said: “The Prime Minister received a fixed-penalty notice and Keir Starmer hasn’t.”

A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: “We were sent a letter by Richard Holden MP on April 22.

“As a courtesy, we have replied to Mr Holden to confirm we have received that letter and will consider its contents before responding in due course.”

Mr Holden wrote to Durham Constabulary’s Chief Constable Jo Farrell in an effort to secure a ‘partygate-style’ probe as pressure increases on Boris Johnson for illegal gatherings held in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown.

The Northern Echo: Richard Holden MPRichard Holden MP

In it he said: “I believe there is a strong public interest in Durham Constabulary reviewing its decision not to investigate the Starmer incident further.”

More than 50 fines have been handed out by the Met Police for those events, with the Prime Minister and Chancellor each receiving one fine each so far.

The Northern Echo: Kevan Jones MPKevan Jones MP

Referring to Mr Holden’s letter, and subsequent Tweet, Labour MP for North Durham Kevan Jones “It is clearly a tactic to divert attention from the Prime Minister’s own problems.

“Durham Police have already looked at this and it should not be used a political football.

“Honesty would be the best tactic and to draw police, who cannot speak publicly on many occasions, into a political game is sad.

“It sounds misleading. What new has come out?”

The Northern Echo approached Mr Holden and asked if he would respond to claims his tweet was misleading.

“No. Because that would give credibility to false claims.

“The letter is very clear from the police. I’ve quoted directly from it.”

---

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 newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054