Was Durham Police’s crime tsar at Sir Keir’s curry night? Top Tory calls for force to be removed from its Beergate probe
- North West Durham MP Richard Holden wants outsider police force on ‘Beergate’
- He suspects Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen also attended
- Mrs Allen was campaigning to become the county’s PCC on April 30 last year
- Police issued 126 fines for Covid law breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall
The police probe into ‘Beergate’ should not be handled by the Durham force if a Labour crime tsar or any of her team were at the gathering, says a Tory MP.
Instead, an outside force should be brought in, such as the Met.
Richard Holden has written to Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen demanding to know if she, her deputy Nigel Bryson or any of her staff were with Sir Keir Starmer when he enjoyed a drink and a takeaway with party colleagues when indoor socialising was banned.
He told her that their presence during election campaigning last year would raise questions over Durham Constabulary’s investigation into whether or not the event broke lockdown laws.
The force was pressured into launching an inquiry a fortnight ago.
North West Durham MP Mr Holden wrote to Mrs Allen yesterday: ‘If you, your deputy or your staff were present, given the conflict of interest, it would be appropriate for this assessment and investigation to be undertaken by a separate police force.’
In the wake of Scotland Yard announcing it had issued 126 Fixed Penalty Notices for Covid law breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall, he called for politicians across the country to be held to the same standard.
Keir Starmer with Joy Allen, the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner
North West Durham MP Mr Richard Holden has asked Joy Allen to consider a separate police force to review the ‘Beergate’ scandal after Scotland Yard issued 126 Fixed Penalty Notices for Covid law breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall
At the time of the Beergate event in Durham’s Miners’ Hall on April 30 last year, Mrs Allen was campaigning to become the county’s PCC and was elected a week later.
Her role includes holding the chief constable to account, which means she could be asked to deal with any complaints raised about the handling of the Beergate inquiry.
Earlier this month a spokesman said ‘neither Joy Allen or Nigel Bryson attended the event’.
Sir Keir insists no laws were broken during the Beergate incident.
However, he is feeling the heat over his lockdown meal from student curry fans.
He has been asked by Durham University Curry Club in an open letter on social media, to provide full details of his takeaway.
He was told that he should resign if he had a korma rather than a spicier dish, and was also criticised for being pictured with a bottle of San Miguel beer rather than Cobra.