Beergate doesn’t absolve Boris Johnson – but it has tarnished Keir Starmer nonetheless

Editorial: If Sir Keir receives a fixed penalty notice, it would put him, in the eyes of many, in the same compromised category as Mr Johnson

Sunday 08 May 2022 21:30
<p>Even if Sir Keir is found ‘innocent’ of any breach, the stain will remain </p>

Even if Sir Keir is found ‘innocent’ of any breach, the stain will remain

The latest “bombshell” in the slightly bizarre “Beergate” saga looks more like a dud than a career-ending mortar round. The fact that Sir Keir Starmer scheduled a meal with the local Labour MP during campaigning in Durham doesn’t of itself suggest very much of a pre-planned social event, without being rude to those involved.

It was, in all likelihood, very much about the campaigning they were both working on – a “working dinner” within the rules, or at least a generous interpretation of them. The Labour leader, who has a reputation for hard work and seriousness, probably did spend a good deal of his evening talking politics. It doesn’t feel much like a gratuitously social gathering.

Even so, and despite the questionable motives of those involved in making the most of Beergate, the fact that the Durham police are looking into it is an embarrassment to the leader of the opposition, and an impediment to him doing his job.

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