2022 – Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner receive surveys from Durham Police | work

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner received questionnaires from Durham Police to investigate whether they had violated lockdown laws by holding a beer and curry rally during last year’s election campaign.

The Labor leader, who has vowed to resign if he is fined for breaking the law, denied any wrongdoing and said he and his team were working on the night in question when they stopped eating.

A Labor spokesman confirmed that Starmer and Rayner had received questionnaires as part of the investigation. At the time, people were only allowed to meet indoors with their families or the support bubble, but there were exceptions for meetings necessary for work.

The party claims they can prove that his team’s shared curry and beer was part of a long day’s work in preparation for the Hartlepool by-election, meaning it was allowed under Covid rules.

But Durham Police have opened an investigation after a campaign published by right-wing newspapers and calls from Tory MPs to investigate the incident at Durham Miners Hall on April 30, 2021.

With Boris Johnson refusing to step down after being fined by the Met Police, Starmer changed tack by pledging to step down if the Durham Force found anything wrong. Starmer said earlier this month that he was determined to prove he had “different principles from the prime minister”, who has already been handed a severe punishment for breaching lockdown rules in Downing Street.

He said he was confident he had not broken the rules but would resign if he was fined, saying: “The British people deserve politicians who think the rules apply to them”.

Investigators are considering face-to-face interviews with the Labor leader, and uncertainty about Starmer’s continued leadership of the party will linger for weeks, according to The Guardian.

In addition to the Labor leader and deputy leader, questionnaires were sent to other Labor activists who police believe were present at the Durham constituency office meeting.

Questionnaires are a legal document. After Starmer and Rayner fill them out and return them to the police, the officers compare their answers with other information from other sources.

The police will review the accuracy of their answers and see if the minimum fine for Starmer and Rayner has been reached.

The investigation will run for weeks and is not expected to be completed until late June or early July.

Starmer is said to be confident he won’t be fined over evidence that eating out was part of his work day. A leaked memo revealed that it was pre-planned at the end of a Zoom test organized by the local MP.

There is also the possibility that Starmer and Rayner may be criticized by the police but not fined – an approach taken by Durham Force after investigating alleged lockdown violations by Dominic Cummings, then chief adviser to the prime minister.