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Sir Keir Starmer: Boris Johnson ‘broke the law’ over parties - and what Labour leader said about beer picture

Sir Keir Starmer was also questioned about a picture of him drinking a beer in an office last year

Sir Keir Starmer has said that the Prime Minister “broke the law” and then “lied about what happened” over parties held at Downing Street when coronavirus restrictions were in place.

The Labour leader told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that “industrial-scale partying had been going on at Downing Street.”

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He was also questioned about a picture that was published in several newspapers of him drinking a beer in an office last year.

Sir Keir insisted that no rules had been breached.

Here we take a look at what the Labour leader said about the Prime Minister, his explanation of the picture and how Boris Johnson is planning to respond to the parties scandal.

What did Keir Starmer say about the Downing Street parties?

Labour party leader, Sir Keir Starmer (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Sir Keir said: “I think he (the Prime Minister) broke the law. I think he’s as good as admitted that he broke the law.

“And, after all, Downing Street has now apologised to the Queen for some of the parties that have gone on.

“I know that the Government’s holding position is ‘let’s all wait for the Sue Gray report’.

“But I think it’s pretty obvious what’s happened, this industrial-scale partying had been going on at Downing Street, not much of it is really denied, and I think that the public have made up their mind. I think the facts speak for themselves.

“I think the Prime Minister broke the law, I think he then lied about what had happened.”

He added that Mr Johnson needs to resign as he has “degraded” the office of Prime Minister.

He told the BBC programme: “I’ve been prompted many, many times to call for the Prime Minister to resign.

“I always resisted but we reached a point, and this is the important thing, the Prime Minister has degraded the office of Prime Minister and he has lost all authority, not only in his own party, but in the country.”

What did Keir Starmer say about a picture of him drinking a beer with staff last year?

Sir Keir said the picture showing him drinking a beer with staff on April 30 last year is “absolutely no comparison” with the Prime Minister.

He said that it was not a breach of the rules.

He was asked by the BBC about the picture published in the Mail on Sunday, which shows him holding a bottle of beer while chatting with a woman, believed to be Labour MP Mary Foy, in her Durham constituency office.

The Labour leader said: “I was in a constituency office just days before the election. We were very busy. We were working in the office.

“We stopped for something to eat and then we carried on working. No party, no breach of the rules and absolutely no comparison with the Prime Minister.”

He added: “It was perfectly lawful to meet for work, which is what we were doing.

“The party that was put to the Prime Minister on Wednesday happened because an invitation was sent to 100 people saying ‘let’s have some socially distant drinks in the garden and bring your own booze’. There is simply no comparison.”

Boris Johnson planning to sack Downing Street staff over parties scandal

The Prime Minister is said to be preparing to axe members of his inner circle over the parties scandal.

The Sunday Times reported that he is looking to cull some of his top team and announce several policies to ease the pressure on him.

Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, who sent an email to around 100 staff members inviting them to “bring your own booze” drinks in the No 10 garden during the first lockdown - is expected to be forced out.

His deputy Stuart Glassborow is another set to be axed by the Prime Minister, the newspaper reported.

No 10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield’s position could also be at risk but officials in Downing Street refused to be drawn on the reports of a staff shake-up when these were put to them.

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