LABOUR made a “genuine mistake” in denying Angela Rayner was at a campaign event in Durham where Sir Keir Starmer was photographed drinking beer.

That was admission of the party leader when questioned about the issue on Sky News on Sunday today.

Sir Keir also claimed that Conservative MPs are, “trying to throw mud around”, by raising the meeting ahead of the local elections.

The Labour leader was photographed drinking a beer during a meeting last April at the constituency office of Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy, while on the campaign trial during the build up to the Hartlepool by-election.

In the light of the partygate scandal, Durham Police has been asked by Conservative North West Durham MP Richard Holden to reconsider its assessment that no offence was committed during the meeting.

Read more: Durham Police is NOT re-investigating Starmer's lockdown 'breach'

At the time of the gathering, non-essential retail and outdoor venues including pub gardens were open but social distancing rules, which included a ban on indoor mixing between households, remained in place.

Asked if deputy leader Ms Rayner was at the office, Sir Keir said: “Yes. We were in the office.

“We were working, we paused for something to eat, there was no party, no rules were broken and that is the long and short of it.

“I know what is going on here.

“We have got an election on Thursday and there are just Tory MPs trying to throw mud around because they have got nothing to say on the central issue of the cost of living.”

He later said Labour did not realise it had made a mistake when it said Ms Rayner was not at the Durham event last year.

Sir Keir said: “We were asked twice and I didn’t even realise we had made a mistake until it came out this week.

“We are a busy office, we made a mistake, it is a genuine mistake and I take responsibility for it.”

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