In a press conference this afternoon Keir Starmer again protested his innocence over Beergate, but pledged to resign if Durham police issue him with a fine. It is understood that Angela Rayner would also stand down if fined. It was a bold move, provided that Starmer does not have some inside knowledge in that no fines will be issued. If that is the case then he has nothing to lose with this strategy.
If Starmer has simply stuck his neck out then this is one of the biggest gambles in British political history. True, his chances of winning the next general election have sunk dramatically following Labour's disappointing local elections, but the next two years are undoubtedly going to be more grim for the British people than the last two and the political landscape will shift on the back of such turmoil. Starmer knows this, he's not stupid. Is he really going to throw away his one shot at being PM by standing down and allowing his successor to march into Downing Street on the back of his sacrifice? That would be a bitter pill for Starmer, more so the ambitious Rayner. She clearly has designs on the top job.
Would Starmer and Rayner be doing this if they thought they would actually be fined? If they are fined then we know they genuinely threw their political careers under the bus, possibly because they arrogantly believed they never broke the rules they consistently backed in parliament. But they did break the rules, obviously, and everyone knows it. Will Durham Constabulary step up?
Click below for Starmer's statement.
Starmer loyalists were quick to praise their leader's 'integrity', but the press conference itself appears to have been a closed shop to anyone who might ask awkward questions - like how Starmer could possibly be fined if he is so innocent? Tom Harwood of GB News tweeted that he was barred from the event...
Integrity? This is the same man who was part of the grooming gangs conspiracy. He was happy to elect a Marxist as Prime Minister and overturn the democratic Leave mandate. Integrity? Give us a break.