Thornberry slammed after Keir Starmer investigated by police
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Emily Thornberry MP, the current shadow foreign secretary, has endeavoured to distinguish between the “consistent and deliberate” rule-breaking of Boris Johnson and the investigation into Sir Keir over an alleged work event last year. She claimed that “no rules have been broken” and snapped at Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge for “making comparisons” that were, she argued, patently misplaced.
She told Sky News: “Well, look, we’ll answer whatever questions are put to us. And we’ll do everything we can to help.
“But we’re completely confident that no rules have been broken. I appreciate that [Durham Police] have been put under a lot of pressure.
“Let’s look at what this is about. What happened in No 10 was organised, breaking of the rules.
“They were events that were not associated with work and that, I think, is a clear breach.”
When Ms Ridge claimed that she was “not making any comparisons”, but said that given Sir Keir’s calls for Mr Johnson to resign, surely the Labour leader’s position was “untenable”, Ms Thornberry snapped: “Well, you are making comparisons.
“There’s no point in contemplating hypotheticals, you know, what the police may or may not conclude. That’s the end of it really.”
Facing further questioning about the untenability of Sir Keir’s position, Ms Thornberry reiterated that the situation is “not comparable” with that of the Prime Minister.
“Keir has not broken the rules; the Prime Minister has done consistently and deliberately, and lied about it.
“[Sir Keir] is not going to get a fine because he hasn’t broken the rules.”
Having blamed the reopening of the investigation on political pressure from the right, Ms Thornberry was corrected, being told that the renewed interest in the case was because of significant new evidence, according to Durham police.
Ms Thornberry said: “Cool, cool. If there’s new evidence then we will answer the questions, and do everything we can to assist the police. But we know we have not broken the rules.”
The Labour leader has come under scrutiny after footage emerged of him drinking a beer and enjoying a curry in Durham.
Sir Keir was campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election in April 2021 at a time when indoor mixing between different households was banned.
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Announcing the reopening of the investigation, 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.
“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.”
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