Angela Rayner gives update on Beergate investigation
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Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Angela Raynor have now handed their questionnaires to Durham Police in relation to claims the pair broke lockdown rules last April. The investigation comes after footage was caught of the two drinking beer and eating a takeaway curry in an MP’s office alongside a number of other colleagues after a day of campaigning for the local elections.
During that time, Britain’s lockdown rules prohibited all non-essential travel and gatherings of two or more people indoors, with an exception if the gathering “was reasonably necessary” for work purposes.
However, guidelines said only “absolutely necessary participants should attend meetings and should maintain 2m separation throughout”, and workers were to “reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting”.
Durham Police opened an investigation into the events in May, of which Mr Starmer has pledged if he’s issued a fine for breaking rules, he will step down as the leader of the Labour party in a bid to demonstrate his differing principles to current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was issued six fines for breaking his own rules during lockdown.
Speaking on the events, Mr Starmer said: “We didn’t break any rules, we were working in the office and we stopped for a takeaway.”
He added: “We did nothing wrong.”
However, the verdict is still under consideration and in the event Mr Starmer is issued with a fine, Express.co.uk has looked into who would be the most likely replacement.
Andy Burnham – 5/1
According to Betfair odds, the clear frontrunner to take the role as leader of the Labour Party is the current Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
The former MP for Leigh was also once the Health Secretary under Gordon Brown and has since garnered more recognition due to his direct challenges to the Government.
Wes Streeting – 4/1
Wes Streeting is the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and has been frequently touted as a strong Labour leadership contender.
Mr Streeting has been MP for Ilford North since 2015 and from sitting on the backbenches under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, has risen through the ranks after Mr Starmer took the help.
Although, when asked about his aspirations to become the Labour leader, Mr Streeting appears to be more positive of Mr Starmer retaining the post than his promotion.
He said: “I am sure that by the time there is a leadership election I will be too old… because after three terms of Keir Starmer being the Prime Minister of our country, people will be looking for a new generation.”
Lisa Nandy – 6/1
In third place, according to Betfair, is Lisa Nandy the current Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
As a strong media performer and a northern woman from the so-called ‘Red Wall’ territory, the Conservatives would consider her one of the more dangerous candidates to take to post.
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Ms Nandy came third in the 2020 Labour leadership race, behind Mr Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey.
Angela Rayner – 6/1
Despite also vowing to step down from her role if she’s found to have breached Covid rules, current deputy Angelor Rayner ranks fourth in the running according to Betfair odds.
Known well for her outspoken politics, Ms Rayner has earned herself a number of critics and seemly even more admirers.
Ms Rayner has been an MP for Ashton-Under-Lyme since 2015 and ideologically identifies as a socialist and as being part of Labour’s soft left.
When once asked if she would like to hold the top Government job, she responded: “God, yeah.”
However, this might not be too likely in the instance Mr Starmer resigns, as she also pledges to step down if fined.
Yvette Cooper – 9/1
According to Betfair, sixth in the running for Labour’s new leader is Yvette Cooper, who currently holds the role of Shadow Home Secretary.
Ms Cooper held junior Government roles under Tony Blair, before becoming Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown and subsequently Work and Pensions Secretary in 2009.
The seasoned politician has been MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 1997.
She is married to shadow chancellor Ed Balls and is known for her strong opposition to Brexit, consistently fighting for a no-deal.
When asked in an interview with The House if she would stand for the Labour leadership again, Ms Cooper said: “I want to be Home Secretary,” but added that Angela Rayner is “right” to maintain that “people should be ready to go for different jobs and so on in the future”.
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