Miliband rules out leadership bid and insists Starmer followed Covid regulations

He said the Labour leader was acting within the rules in the so-called ‘beergate’ incident last year.

Martina Bet
Sunday 15 May 2022 11:45
Ed Miliband said Sir Keir Starmer did not break Covid rules (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Ed Miliband said Sir Keir Starmer did not break Covid rules (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ed Miliband has ruled himself out of a potential leadership contest to replace Sir Keir Starmer.

Speaking to Sunday Morning on BBC One, the shadow secretary of state for climate change and former Labour leader staunchly defended Sir Keir over claims he allegedly broke lockdown rules.

Mr Miliband insisted Sir Keir was “simply having some food with colleagues at work”.

When asked if he is considering having “another go” as Labour leader, his immediate response was “don’t be ridiculous”.

His comments come as rumours about possible replacements to Sir Keir started circulating after the Labour leader announced he would resign if fined by Durham police for drinking a beer and eating curry in an MP’s office after a day of campaigning for the local elections in April 2021.

It is still not clear if he would quit if police found he had breached coronavirus rules but did not issue a fine.

Questioned on the issue, Mr Miliband said: “The penalty for breaking the law is a fixed-penalty notice and I think Keir Starmer has certainly done something that Boris Johnson hasn’t done.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer followed the rules, Ed Miliband said (PA/Victoria Jones)

“As far as I can see, if Boris Johnson gets multiple fines, he is going to cling on to office.

“Keir Starmer did not break the rules. He was simply having some food with colleagues at a work. He was working in Durham. I don’t believe he is going to be fined. But if he is fined, he has to resign.”

On whether he will run for the leadership in that scenario, Mr Miliband said: “Don’t be ridiculous. No. And he is not going. He followed the rules.”

Mr Miliband also praised the Labour leader for having “brought us back from a terrible defeat in 2019”, pointing at the “gains across the country” in this month’s local elections, “not just Westminster and Wandsworth but Rossendale and Cumberland, right across Britain”.

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