DURHAM Police has confirmed that Sir Kier Starmer will face an investigation into potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations after receiving “significant new information” relating to the case.

The Labour leader came under pressure since footage emerged of him drinking a beer with colleagues in April 2021 in Durham, during a campaign for the Hartlepool by-election.

During that time, non-essential retail and outdoor venues such as pub gardens were open but social distancing rules, which included a ban on indoor mixing between households, were still in place.

Read more: Pictures as car smashes into home in Trimdon Colliery in County Durham

Despite appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier this week, which saw the politician deny that the police had been in contact with him, Durham Police have released a statement this afternoon that suggests an active investigation is underway.

Initially, the police force announced that they’d not be looking into the lockdown incident, and seemingly concluded its investigation in February.

The Northern Echo: Sir Kier Starmer was pictured 'breaching' lockdown rules last year. Picture: PA MEDIA.Sir Kier Starmer was pictured 'breaching' lockdown rules last year. Picture: PA MEDIA.

However, issuing a statement to The Northern Echo today, a spokesman for Durham Police said: “Earlier this year, Durham Constabulary carried out an assessment as to whether Covid-19 regulations had been breached at a gathering in Durham City on April 30 2021. At that time, it was concluded that no offence had been established and therefore no further action would be taken.

“Following the receipt of significant new information over recent days, Durham Constabulary has reviewed that position and now, following the conclusion of the pre-election period, we can confirm that an investigation into potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations relating to this gathering is now being conducted.”

After the announcement from Durham Police, Tory MP for North West Durham, Richard Holden, has said that the force are doing “exactly the right thing” in investigating potential lockdown breaches involving Sir Keir Starmer.

The Northern Echo: Labour leader, Sir Kier Starmer. Picture: PA MEDIA.Labour leader, Sir Kier Starmer. Picture: PA MEDIA.

Mr Holden, the North West Durham MP who had been pressing police to investigate after presenting new evidence, said: “It’s vital that the man who wants to be prime minister is held to the same standard as the Prime Minister and everybody else.

“For the last fortnight Starmer and Labour HQ have obfuscated, denied, lied, and attempted to smear in an attempt to shield Starmer and other senior Labour figures from reasonable questions which they have been unwilling to answer.

“I am glad that they will now have to answer them.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also said it was “only a matter of time” before Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer would be investigated by Durham Police over the allegations.

The Northern Echo: Durham Police will now investigate the alleged 'breach' from Mr Starmer. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Durham Police will now investigate the alleged 'breach' from Mr Starmer. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Only a matter of time. The law should be applied fairly and consistently across the country.”

However, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has defended the Labour leader and said the Durham incident was “very different from what we saw in Government”.

She said: “The Labour Party has always been clear that no rules were broken. This was a work event, it was in the middle of a local election campaign and it was eating a meal in an election campaign.

“I think that’s very different from what we saw in the Government where you had the very people who were making the rules, the very people who were asking people to make great sacrifices across the country – and we’ve seen the evidence of the parties.

“That’s why we’ve been so clear about challenging the Government on that, but… it’s not appropriate for me as shadow home secretary to comment on decisions by police forces – they have a particular job to do.”

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