A RESIGNATION by Sir Keir Starmer would not mean Prime Minister Boris Johnson should do the same, according to a Government minister, after the Labour leader said he would quit if he is fined by police over allegations he broke Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

During a televised statement at Labour HQ in London yesterday (May 9), Sir Keir said he would do the “right thing” if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice in relation to a gathering at Durham Miners’ Hall in April last year.

The move has been viewed as a ‘huge gamble’ by many in the political world, with Sir Keir placing his future in the hands of Durham Police after it was announced last Friday that the force would reopen an investigation into the event where he was pictured drinking beer and eating a curry.

Read more: 'Durham Police won't feel pressure in Sir Keir probe' - as investigation continues 

In the aftermath of Sir Keir’s statement, the Labour party is looking to point out the differences of Sir Keir’s actions with those of Boris Johnson, who has refused to quit after being fined by the Met Police over a gathering in No 10 in June 2020 to mark his 56th birthday.

However, this morning, policing minister Kit Malthouse has suggested that a resignation by Sir Keir would not mean Boris Johnson should also step down.

When it was suggested to him that if the Labour leader is fined and does resign, it would mean Mr Johnson should follow suit, he told LBC: “Not necessarily, no.”

The Northern Echo: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer makes a statement about 'beergate' yesterday. Picture: PA MEDIA.Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer makes a statement about 'beergate' yesterday. Picture: PA MEDIA.

Mr Malthouse went on to say that “mistakes were made” by his own party but insisted that he didn’t know why anyone should lose their job over the recent revelations.

He added: “Obviously in any situation where, you know, the rules were moving around, there were misunderstandings or mistakes were made, and apologies are made and they are accepted, then people of all walks of life should be able to keep their jobs.

“But Keir Starmer has to speak for himself and set his own standards.”

Asked if the Labour leader is right to say he would step down, Mr Malthouse later told GB News: “That’s a matter for him. Look, my view is that this was a very difficult situation with complicated rules that were often changing quite quickly.

The Northern Echo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA MEDIA.Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA MEDIA.

“Mistakes were made and they’re acknowledged and fixed penalty notices are paid.

“I don’t see why anybody, be they so high or so humble, should lose their job.”

Meanwhile, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said Sir Keir is “a man of integrity and a man of decency, unlike the Prime Minister who has been found to have broken the law and still clings on at Number 10”.

She told Sky News: “We maintain that nothing was done that was inconsistent with the rules.

“He was there working. He had some food as part of that working day. That really is it.”

Ms Phillipson said you are “allowed to eat” as part of a working day.

The Northern Echo: Policing minister Kit Malthouse. Picture: PA MEDIA.Policing minister Kit Malthouse. Picture: PA MEDIA.

“I think the contrast between Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer is there for everyone to see.

“In Keir Starmer, someone who takes his responsibilities seriously, who believes in the importance of integrity and honesty.

“And Boris Johnson? I don’t think you would say that he’s a man of integrity or a man of honesty,” she said.

Labour sources are confident they can prove the Durham event was a work event and that those present were taking a break to eat while working late on preparations for the Hartlepool by-election.

The party has compiled time-stamped logs from WhatsApp chats, documents and video edits, showing they carried on working after the takeaway was delivered – continuing to 1am, The Guardian reported.

A party source said: “We have been totally clear that no rules were broken. We will provide documentary evidence that people were working before and after stopping to have food.”

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