LONDON – British police said on Friday they would not fine the two main leaders of the opposition Labor Party for a curry and beer meal with colleagues last year when Britain was subject to coronavirus restrictions.
Durham Local Police said they ‘will not be issuing any fixed penalty notices in relation to the rally and no further action will be taken’.
Labor leader Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner have both said they would resign if fined over the incident, dubbed “beergate” by the media.
Starmer said he and his colleagues grabbed a takeaway curry and a beer from the office of a North East England lawmaker in April 2021 while campaigning for a special election. The rules in force at the time prohibited internal social mixing between households. Starmer said no rules were broken as it was part of a working day.
The police agreed. The Durham force said it had considered “a substantial amount of documentary and witness evidence” and concluded “there is no basis to answer for a breach of regulations, due to the application of one exception, namely reasonably necessary work”.
The force said none of the 17 people present would be fined.
Starmer pitted his promise to resign if fined against the behavior of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who refused to resign after being fined 50 pounds ($61) by police for attending a party in his office in 2020 who broke lockdown rules.
Johnson announced his resignation on Thursday after months of scandals including “partygate” led his Conservative party to revolt.
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