The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he will step down from his role if he is issued with a fine for breaking COVID rules.
The politician has been under fire in recent days after photos emerged that showed him having a beer and a curry in an MPs office while the rest of the nation was still under lockdown restrictions.
Sir Keir has today told reporters that ‘the idea that I would casually break the rules is wrong’, and insisted that he ‘simply had something to eat whilst working late in the evening’.
But he has said that if police issue him with a fixed penalty notice – something that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received in recent weeks – he would ‘do the right thing and step down’.
He said: “This matters. It matters because the British public deserve politicians who think the rules apply to them.
“They deserve politicians who hold themselves to the highest standards, and they deserve politicians who put the country first rather than themselves. They will always get that from me.”
Angela Rayner, who was also at the ‘Beergate’ event in Durham, has also said that she would step down if she received a fine.
She said in a statement: “I’ve always been clear that I was at the event in Durham working in my capacity as deputy leader and that no rules were broken. Eating during a long day’s work was not against the rules.
“We have a prime minister who has been found to have broken the rules, lied about it and then been fined. If I were issued with a fine, I would do the decent thing and step down.”
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Sir Keir’s statement also said: “We all found following those rules frustrating at times, I’m no exception to that. I had to isolate six times during Covid, pulling me away from my work and the things I love. But I did it, because we followed the rules.
“The idea that I would then casually break those rules is wrong, and frankly I don’t believe those accusing me believe it themselves. They are just trying to feed cynicism, so the public to believe all politicians are the same.
“But I am here to say they are not. I believe in honour, integrity and the principle that those who make the laws must follow them.
“And I believe that politicians who undermine that principle undermine trust in politics, undermine our democracy and undermine Britain.”
Ever since the first Covid lockdown I have always followed the rules.
Featured image: BBC