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Keir Starmer Holding Press Conference After Being Cleared Over Beergate As Race To Replace Boris Johnson Begins – Live

Durham police say ‘no case to answer’ for Starmer over alleged lockdown breachDurham police are not fining anyone over Beergate, they have announced.

That means Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are not being fined – and won’t have to resign (which they promised they would do if they were fined).

Here is the statement.

Following the emergence of significant new information, an investigation was launched by Durham constabulary into a gathering at the Miners’ Hall, in Redhills, Durham on 30 April 2021. That investigation has now concluded.

A substantial amount of documentary and witness evidence was obtained which identified the 17 participants and their activities during that gathering. Following the application of the evidential full code test, it has been concluded that there is no case to answer for a contravention of the regulations, due to the application of an exception, namely reasonably necessary work.

Accordingly, Durham constabulary will not be issuing any fixed penalty notices in respect of the gathering and no further action will be taken. The investigation has been thorough, detailed and proportionate.

The final evidence supplied by participants from the local constituency was returned to Durham police on 5 July and analysed by investigators against all the evidence before the investigation was concluded on 8 July 2022.

In line with established national policing guidelines, we will not name or otherwise identify any of those present at the gathering, all of whom have been informed of the investigation outcome by their legal representatives.

Key events:

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Starmer rules out post-election coalition with SNP, but not with Lib DemsQ: Will you rule out coalition with the SNP and the Lib Dems?

Yes, says Starmer.

He says he is ruling out an alliance with the SNP, before or after an election. That is an in principle decision. He says he cannot form an alliance with a party that wants to break up the UK.

As regards the Lib Dems, Starmer says he wants a Labour government.

But he does not rule out a post-election pact.

And that’s it. The press conference is finished.

Keir Starmer. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PAQ: Haven’t you left it late to set out what a Labour government would do?

Starmer says Labour has set out its approach to the economy, how it will handle its relationship with business, its skills agenda and its plans for a buy British approach. So the party has set out a lot, he says.

Q: Have any Tory MPs offered to support you in a no-confidence vote?

Starmer says it is the duty of Tory MPs to step up and force Johnson out. If they don’t, Labour will table a no-confidence motion.

Q: Do you want the government to supsend new policies for two months?

Starmer says his preferred option is for Boris Johnson to go. If he does not, Labour will propose a no-confidence vote.

Q: Aren’t you just playing politics with the no-confidence vote?

Starmer says Johnson was brought down on the issue of trust and integrity. He says it does not make sense for ministers to bring down a PM, saying he asks them to defend the indefensible, and then for them to serve him for another two months.

Starmer says voters are coming back to Labour. The party is ready for a general election.

Q: You are pressing for a no confidence vote. Won’t a general election add to the chaos?

Starmer says he does not agree. Britain needs fundamental change, he says.

Q: Has Boris Johnson’s resignation made your task harder?

“Not in the slightest,” says Starmer.

He says the Tory leadership contest shows “a cast list of wannabe leaders who propped up this prime minister for months and months and months”.

Starmer says voters will always get from him ‘someone who believes honesty and integrity matter’Keir Starmer says people told him he was taking a risk by saying he would resign if he were shown to have broken the law.

But for him it was a matter of principle, he says; if you make the law, you should not break the law.

He says the fact that this was remarkable shows how out of touch politicians have become.

People feel things are not working, and politics is not serving them.

He claims his stance has been about showing people that politics can work.

It is vital to give Britain the fresh start it needs.

In the coming days he will set out how Labour can do this.

He says he won’t get everything right.

I am certainly not perfect, and I will make mistakes along the way.

But what you will always get from me is someone who believes honesty and integrity matter.

Keir Starmer’s press conferenceKeir Starmer is about to hold a press conference. My colleague Peter Walker is there.

One of the leading supporters of Tom Tugendhat’s campaign for the Tory leadership is Damian Green, the former first secretary of state who chairs the One Nation Conservatives group of MPs. In an interview on the World at One he said the party would do best with a new leader who had not been part of Boris Johnson’s government. But he sounded less confident when asked where Tugendhat stood on controversial Johnson policies.

Asked if Tugendhat was in favour of the Northern Ireland protocol bill, which is widely seen as breaking international law, Green said he personally did not think the bill would necessarily break international law. “I support the idea of having this bill as a negotiating tactic,” Green said.

Asked about Tugendhat’s stance on the bill, Green said Tugendhat, like many MPs, wanted to see the bill improved.

And asked about Tugendhat’s stance on deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, Green replied:

We all want to stop the illegal traffic across the Channel, not least for the people involved. They are going through very dangerous journeys to get there. I think the Rwanda policy may work, and if it does, then well done for introducing it.

Cabinet secretary Simon Case has been ‘bystander at car crash’, says former permanent secretarySenior civil servants, even when they retire, tend to be quite reticent in public, but on the Today programme this morning Sir David Normington, a former permanent secretary at the Home Office, was remarkably critical of Simon Case, the cabinet secretary.

Normington was asked what could be done to stop Boris Johnson making any rogue decisions in his final weeks in office, and he replied that it would be up to the cabinet and Case to constrain him.

Asked if he thought Case was strong enough to perform this role, Normington replied:

Well, I’m a little doubtful about it. He has presided over a decline in standards. He’s had a very difficult prime minister to deal with. But he’s sometimes seemed like a bystander at the car crash. This is the moment for him to step up. I think.

Sir David Normington. Photograph: PAMaybe retired civil servants are becoming more assertive. Last night Simon McDonald posted this on Twitter, celebrating the downfall of the PM that he helped to precipitate.

McDonald’s letter on Tuesday morning saying No 10 was not telling the truth about Chris Pincher was the final straw for many MPs, prompting a further collapse in support for Johnson among the parliamentary party, and the resignation of two cabinet ministers that night.

Vincent Ni

The political turmoil in Britain has made headlines in China. Chinese audiences have been fascinated by the drama unfolding in Downing Street. On Friday the Chinese foreign ministry, when asked about Boris Johnson’s resignation, said it would not comment on British domestic politics, but it had a message to the incoming occupant of No 10.

“No matter how British politics changes, we hope that the UK side will take the long-term and overall situation into consideration, work with the Chinese side halfway, and promote the sustainable and stable development of bilateral relations,” said the ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

In Beijing there is no expectation of a potential return to “golden era” British-Chinese relations. Like the mainstream analysis in the UK, Chinese analysts also seem to have come to terms with a fundamentally contentious bilateral relationship in the foreseeable future.

“The world has changed substantially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and it’s unfathomable that the deterioration of bilateral ties between China and UK can be improved significantly or even turned around any time soon,” Prof Shi Yinhong, of Renmin University, told Chinese media on Friday.

Labour MP accuses Tories who called for Beergate investigation of wasting police timeThe Labour MP Mary Kelly Foy was at the Beergate event, with Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner and party staff and activists, that was investigated by the police as a possible breach of lockdown rules. She has welcomed the news that police have decided that no rules were broken. (See 12.33pm.)

In a statement responding to the decision, she accused the Tory MPs who did call for an inquiry of wasting police time at a time when the force was already under “significant pressure”.

Foy did not name any of them in her statement, but the most prominent of them was Richard Holden, the MP for North West Durham. He has tweeted the Durham police statement, saying that after significant new information emerged, officers concluded the event was reasonably necessary for work.

Keir Starmer is going to hold a press conference later to respond to the Durham police announcement, Labour is saying.

Jeremy Hunt is highly likely to announce his bid to become the next Conservative leader in the coming days, PA Media reports. PA says:

A source close to the senior Tory MP, who ran for the leadership in 2019, said that he was “virtually certain” to enter the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

“For months he has been pressed by colleagues on all wings of the party,” the source said.

The source also claimed that Hunt was receiving “mounting support” from within the party.

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