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Labour has told its activists in Durham to keep quiet about the Beergate scandal that has plunged Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership into crisis.
Local members have been instructed they should not speak publicly about his beer and curry ‘party’ during lockdown.
Durham Constabulary announced last week that it was launching a probe into the gathering on April 30 last year after receiving ‘significant new information’.
At the time, indoor socialising was banned.
The move followed a string of revelations in the Daily Mail about what really happened when Sir Keir gathered with MPs and officials in Durham Miners Hall in the run-up to last year’s local elections.
Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer said he will step down if he is fined for the ‘party’
Caught on camera: Sir Keir was filmed drinking in the Miners Hall last year
Sir Keir has said he will ‘do the right thing and step down’ if police issue him with a fixed-penalty notice over the event.
But he has not said whether he will quit if Durham Constabulary finds he breached lockdown laws but sticks to its policy of not issuing Covid fines retrospectively.
In an email to members this week, Chris Turner, the secretary of the local Labour party in the City of Durham, warned they could be contacted by the Press.
He told them: ‘If you are contacted by a journalist, I would advise you make no response. Politely decline to speak to them.’
Meanwhile, the BBC admitted it had been hit with complaints for giving ‘insufficient coverage’ to Beergate.
The broadcaster released a statement on the criticism yesterday, which it traditionally does when it has received more than 100 complaints about an issue.
It defended its reporting, saying the story had been covered ‘across our news and current affairs programmes’.