Social media is awash with mockery after Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were pictured laughing together ahead of the State Opening of Parliament.The P
Social media is awash with mockery after Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were pictured laughing together ahead of the State Opening of Parliament.
The Prime Minister caused the Leader of the Opposition to crack a smile despite recent mounting pressure over ‘Beergate’ as they walked through the lobby of the Palace of Westminster together on Tuesday morning.
Tory MP Greg Hands even suggested Mr Johnson jokingly asked his counterpart about his weekend as the ‘Beergate’ saga ratcheted up another level.
In a dramatic statement on Monday, Sir Keir said he would do the ‘right thing’ if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice in relation to a gathering in Labour offices in Durham in April last year.
His comments came in response to Mr Johnson apologising after he was himself given a fixed-penalty notice by police for his own ‘Partygate’ infraction.
Poking fun at the pair’s recent woes, Twitter users suggested they were ‘laughing at their police records’ – a thinly veiled jab at lockdown-busting fines.
It was reported today that Sir Keir has phone records that Labour believes clear him of breaking lockdown rules because they show he went back to work after the Beergate curry.
Labour is offering to share data with the force it believes clear him of rule-breaking while campaigning in April 2021.
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.’
Durham Police would also face pressure it it was to fine Mr Starmer, having let off Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings off with a warning for a suspected breach of lockdown rules.
Mr Cummings was forced to make a groveling apology in the Rose Garden of No10 in May 2020 after it was revealed he drove from London to Durham the previous March during lockdown.
But he kept his job – at least for the rest of the year – and faced no police censure.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson warned he cannot protect Brits from cost-of-living misery today as he unveiled Queen’s Speech measures to get back on track after Partygate and disastrous local elections – including a crackdown on eco ‘hooligans’, a Levelling Up drive and a Brexit red tape bonfire.
As the legislative agenda for the new Parliament was announced, the PM said that the government will do ‘whatever we can to ease the burdens people are grappling with’.
But despite growing demands for action as inflation surges towards 10 per cent and the economy stalls, Mr Johnson pointed to the existing £22billion package of help, and insisted he would make long-term investments rather than try to ease the immediate pain.
The approach was underlined by the absence of any fresh measures in the package of proposed laws – although minister have carefully refused to rule out an emergency Budget before the Autumn.
Social media is awash with mockery after Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were pictured laughing together ahead of the State opening of Parliament
The Queen’s Speech shifted the political focus away from lockdown-busting parties after, in a dramatic statement on Monday, Sir Keir said he would do the ‘right thing’ if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice in relation to a gathering in Labour offices in Durham in April last year.
The move was seen a huge gamble, placing his future in the hands of Durham Police after it was announced last week officers would reopen an investigation into the event where Sir Keir drank beer and ate curry.
However, Labour sources are confident they can prove it was a work event and that those present were taking a break to eat while working late on preparations for the Hartlepool by-election.
Asked if the move is a high-risk strategy, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson told Sky News: ‘I think it’s the right thing to do. That’s what matters most. Keir is someone of principle, and he’s looked at this and thought he wants to be clear he’s doing the right thing.’
In his statement, Sir Keir said repeatedly no rules had been broken as he sought to contrast his actions with 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.
But having repeatedly called for Mr Johnson to go for breaking the law, many at Westminster believed he would have no choice but to fall on his sword if he was found to have done so himself.