The issue for the British public over Labour’s Beergate and the Tories’ Partygate is the hypocrisy and cover-ups, says Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has come under scrutiny since it was revealed he had been at a social gathering last year during lockdown — in contravention of the very rules he as leader of the Opposition backed the government in imposing on the British people.
Starmer has recently been criticised for changing his story, having said in January there were only six people at the party but admitting on Monday during an episode of Loose Women that there were around 15 people at the event. Reports last week estimated that based on the amount of food ordered for the gathering at the former Durham Miners HQ, there was enough to feed 30 people.
In recent months, the Conservatives have also been caught in their own similar scandals, including prohibited gatherings in Downing Street, dubbed ‘Partygate’. Starmer and Labour Party deputy Angela Rayner have both said they will resign if fined by Durham Police.
Speaking to TalkTV on Tuesday, Bow Group chairman said the issue wasn’t that the Government and Opposition couldn’t abide by unrealistic lockdown laws, but that they had broken the rules they insisted citizens live by and if failing to do so, were fined and criminalised.
“For the British public, it is exactly the situation with Partygate. It’s really the hypocrisy and the cover-up that is the issue,” Mr Harris-Quinney told the broadcaster.
The Bow Group chairman continued: “We can all now accept they were just unachievable if people were continuing to work. They weren’t realistic, and I think most people weren’t keeping to the stringent nature of these rules, because it wasn’t possible to do so.
“But the government was putting them forward. They were fining and criminalising people that weren’t keeping up with these impossible rules.
“Meanwhile, Labour was saying that they don’t go far enough, that we needed even more stringent rules. And yet we find out that members of the government — and indeed, the Labour Party — were doing all this stuff that was not in keeping with the rules.”
Harris-Quinney concluded: “I think Keir Starmer keeps saying that he won’t be fined and there were no rule breaches; but the rules clearly state that social meetings of this nature were prohibited unless they were absolutely necessary. We know that there was food available had Keir Starmer wanted it at his hotel, so I think it’s going to be hard for him to justify why this meeting of 15, maybe 30 people, was absolutely necessary to conduct his business. It doesn’t look like it was.”
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