Keir Starmer insisted failure to disclose Angela Rayner had attended a work meeting in Durham during which he was pictured drinking with activists had been a “mistake.” The Labour Party leader has come under fire after Ms Rayner’s presence at the event was confirmed despite previously having been denied. Sky News host Sophy Ridge said: “I need to ask you about what happened in Durham.
“This is when you were pictured drinking beer with party activists ahead of a by-election.
“At the time, people in England were banned from mixing indoors apart from at work. Was Angela Rayner there?”
Mr Starmer confirmed her deputy was at the meeting but insisted no rules were broken as he hit out at the Conservatives for questioning his and Ms Rayner’s conduct ahead of Thursday’s local elections.
He said: “Yes. We were in the office, we were working, we paused for something to eat.
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“There was no party, no rules were broken and that is the long and the short of it.
“And Durham police looked at it and decided there was absolutely nothing wrong.
“What we’ve seen this week, we’ve got an election on Thursday.”
He continued: “I know what’s going on here, we’ve got an election on Thursday and there’s Tory MPs trying to throw mud around because they’ve got nothing to say on the central issue of the cost of living.
“If they focussed so intensely on the cost of living as they are on Durham, millions of people would be saying good things too.”
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The Labour Party leader said: “There was a mistake. We make mistakes in the office.
“We were asked twice and I didn’t realise we’d made a mistake until it came out this week.
“We’re a busy office, we made a mistake, it was a genuine mistake. And I take responsibility for it, I run the office, we simply made a mistake.
“I don’t think anybody would seriously say Keir Starmer’s team would lie to the media about this. We made a mistake.”