Sky's Beth Rigby nails Keir Starmer over refusing to quit now 'Isn't it hypocritical?'

Keir Starmer grilled on hypocrisy by Beth Rigby

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Sir Keir Starmer has been grilled by Sky News‘ Beth Rigby over his call for Boris Johnson to resign when the Prime Minister was placed under investigation for breaking the rules now that he is facing the same probe by police over partygate. Speaking to the press on Monday, Sir Keir refused to resign outright but promised to step down if he were to be fined by the police for breaking Covid lockdown rules. 

Ms Rigby asked the Labour leader: “On January 31 you put out a tweet you said ‘honesty and decency matter after months of denial, the Prime Minister is now under criminal investigation for breaking his own lockdown laws. He needs to do the decent thing and resign.’

“So you said then that the Prime Minister should resign because he was under criminal investigation, which you now are as well.

“Isn’t it rather hypocritical? That you said that of him but you’re not prepared to resign right now?

“What do you say to people that say you’re a hypocrite?”

Keir Starmer grilled over 'beergate' resignation stance by Beth Rigby

Keir Starmer grilled over ‘beergate’ resignation stance by Beth Rigby (Image: Sky News)

Keir Starmer announces he will step down if fined by police

Keir Starmer announces he will step down if fined by police (Image: Sky News)

The Labour leader argued he has taken a “very different” path to that picked by the Prime Minister when Partygate was first uncovered. 

“I have taken a very different course to the Prime Minister, who of course did break the laws and then didn’t resign,” Sir Keir argued. 

“I am setting out a very different course, I have different principles to the Prime Minister and I think it is very important that the public see not all politicians are the same.

“I am very different to the Prime Minister in this regard in terms of the principle, the honour and the integrity of the office that I hold.”

Keir Starmer announces he will step down if fined by police

Asked if he jumped the gun in calling for the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s resignations when they were only under investigation for breaking the rules, Sir Keir said: “I’m setting out my position in relation to the events of the last few days.

“The Prime Minister has chosen not to resign, notwithstanding that, not only has he broken the law that he made, but 50 fines being imposed in relation to the workplace that he is responsible for.

“That is his choice. But it’s very important that the public don’t think that all politicians are the same and that is why I have set out my position in terms of honour and integrity.”

Asked again about the Prime Minister not having been found guilty at the time Sir Keir called for him to quit, the Labour leader said: “He’s been found guilty, he’s been found to be in breach of the law. I think over 50 fines now in relation to Downing Street, and the Prime Minister has not stepped down.

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Keir Starmer grilled on hypocrisy by Beth Rigby

Keir Starmer grilled on hypocrisy by Beth Rigby (Image: Sky News)

“He and others in his party want the public to believe that we’re all the same, that we’ll all act in that way. I’m here to make clear that is not the case.”

After months of Johnson being criticised for attending parties at his Downing Street residence when Britain was in a strict coronavirus lockdown, attention has turned to a gathering Starmer attended last year in the northeast of England.

British police said on Friday they would investigate Starmer over a potential breach of the lockdown rules in 2021 after receiving significant new information. Footage from April 2021 shows him drinking a bottle of beer with colleagues indoors when such gatherings were banned if not essential for work.

Starmer and his main opposition Labour Party had repeatedly called for Johnson and his finance minister, Rishi Sunak, to resign after both received fines relating to a birthday party celebration thrown for staff in Downing Street in June 2020.

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