SENIOR Tories have accused Sir Keir Starmer of being a hypocrite and a liar as he insisted he did not break coronavirus lockdown laws by having a beer and curry at a campaign event, while Labour MPs have called the leader 'Mr Rules'.

The Labour leader’s claims came as a leaked memo indicated the takeaway in Durham had been planned as part of his itinerary for the day of campaigning in April 2021 and, no further work was scheduled after the dinner.

Allies of Sir Keir insisted that the curry was consumed between work events, meaning it was within the rules despite the ban on indoor socialising.

Read more: Starmer on beergate row: ‘There was no party, no breach of rules’

Police in Durham confirmed on Friday (May 6) that it’s looking into the event and Tory ministers lined up to accuse Sir Keir of hypocrisy after the Labour leader called for Boris Johnson to quit when he faced a Scotland Yard probe into No 10 parties.

At the time of the Durham 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.

Sir Keir previously said no restaurants or pubs were open at the time of the alleged breach so “if you didn’t get a takeaway then our team wasn’t eating that evening”.

The Northern Echo: Sir Kier is pictured in Durham during an election campaign for the Hartlepool by-election last year. Picture: PA MEDIA.Sir Kier is pictured in Durham during an election campaign for the Hartlepool by-election last year. Picture: PA MEDIA.

Labour has also indicated that as Sir Keir was working the meal did not constitute a social event.

The leaked memo published by the Mail on Sunday showed that the dinner in Durham had been listed on the schedule for Sir Keir’s day in April 2021 during the local election and Hartlepool by-election campaigns.

The document states that there would be a “dinner in Miners Hall” with City of Durham MP Mary Foy from 8.40pm to 10pm – and a note indicates a member of staff in Sir Keir’s office was to arrange the takeaway curry from the Spice Lounge.

A spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition’s office said: “Keir was working, a takeaway was made available in the kitchen, and he ate between work demands. No rules were broken.”

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

Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions, told reporters on Saturday: “As I have explained several times, I was working in the office, we stopped for something to eat.

“There was no party, no breach of rules, I am confident of that.”

He said he would not resign and would lead Labour into the next general election.

The Northern Echo: Culture secretary, Nadine Dorries. Picture: PA MEDIA.Culture secretary, Nadine Dorries. Picture: PA MEDIA.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “It was a lie. No break in a work meeting. No pieces to camera, but a pre-arranged social dinner at which Rayner, Foy, and Starmer were present.”

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said: “Starmer claimed it was an impromptu curry. Turns out it was pre-planned.

The Northern Echo: Lisa Nandy has defender Sir Kier. Picture: PA MEDIA.Lisa Nandy has defender Sir Kier. Picture: PA MEDIA.

“Starmer claimed nowhere served food. Turns out that loads of places did.

“(Angela) Rayner claimed she wasn’t there. Turns out she was. Hypocrisy and dishonesty in equal measure.”

In January, Sir Keir said the Prime Minister “needs to do the decent thing and resign” after he became embroiled in lockdown breach allegations.

Despite mounting pressure from the Conservative party on Sir Kier, Labour’s Lisa Nandy has defended her party leader over claims he broke coronavirus lockdown rules, saying: “I’m absolutely confident that he hasn’t broken the law.”

The Northern Echo: Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab. Picture: PA MEDIA.Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab. Picture: PA MEDIA.

Shadow secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities Ms Nandy said her boss “is Mr Rules, he does not break the rules” as she accused the Conservatives of an “absolutely desperate attempt to sling mud”.

Her comments came as Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab accused Sir Keir of “complete hypocrisy” over the Durham beer-and-curry event being investigated by police for a possible breach of coronavirus lockdown laws.

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