Diane Abbott: Starmer should 'consider his position' if he receives fixed penalty notice

7 May 2022, 11:40 | Updated: 7 May 2022, 18:08

By Tim Dodd

Labour MP Diane Abbott has told Matt Frei that Keir Starmer should "consider his position" if he receives a fixed penalty notice from Durham police who are investigating the alleged "beergate" scandal.

It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has insisted that there was "no party" and "no rules were broken" since footage emerged of him drinking a beer with colleagues in April 2021 in Durham during campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

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.

In the light of the partygate scandal, Durham police were asked by Conservative MP Richard Holden (North West Durham) to reconsider their assessment that no offence was committed during the meeting.

Matt Frei asked Ms Abbott if Keir Starmer should resign if he receives a fixed penalty notice.

"If he actually gets a fixed penalty notice he really has to consider his position. I mean, I don't think he will, I think this is a lot of sort of hype built up by the Tory press," she said.

"But if he were to get a fixed penalty notice he would have to consider his position."

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Speaking to reporters on Friday, Sir Keir said: "As I've explained a number of times, we were working in the office, we stopped for something to eat - no party, no breach of the rules.

"The police obviously have got their job to do, we should let them get on with it."But I'm confident that no rules were broken.

"Meanwhile, we've had a really good set of results today."

Ms Abbott denied that she was implying he should resign.

"He should think about his position and decide what is best. And that is only if he actually gets a fixed penalty notice!

"That's just logical."

Matt read a message from a listener to Ms Abbott "With friends like Diane Abbott, Keir Starmer doesn't need enemies - that's for sure", to which she said she's a "loyal supporter of Keir Starmer" and was "just making a common sense point".

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier told LBC that whilst it is a "very serious development", he wouldn't be drawn on whether Sir Keir should resign if he is fined by police, as he did not want to pre-empt a police investigation.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn: Keir Starmer Beergate investigation 'very serious'