Sunday shows: Nandy calls beergate row “absurd” and says Starmer is “Mr Rules”

Elliot Chappell

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Lisa Nandy refused to say whether Keir Starmer should resign if he is fined by the police for breaching Covid rules, branding the discussion “utterly absurd” and dubbing Starmer “Mr Rules”. She also refused to say she would stand for leader if Starmer did resign, saying that Labour cannot afford to “muck around with internal debates”.

  • Asked what happened during the Labour leader’s ‘beergate’ visit to Durham: “What went on was exactly what Keir Starmer has said. He went on a work visit, he stopped to eat at various times during the day – as was factored into the work visit and then he finished the work visit and he went back to his hotel.”
  • On the comparison with Boris Johnson: “It is frankly absurd of the Tories to claim that this is any way equates to a Prime Minister who was under investigation by the police for 12 separate gatherings, which included karaoke parties, bring your own bottle parties, pub quizzes, suitcases full of wine being smuggled through the back door – and the Prime Minister lied about that, he denied that they happened, he denied that he was there, he came clean and he laughed about it. Keir Starmer went on a work visit and had a break to eat.”
  • Asked whether Starmer should resign if the police conclude that he broke the law: “I’m not going to get into that because it’s not – I’m absolutely confident that he hasn’t broken the law.”
  • Asked why she will not give a view on whether he should resign if found guilty of breaching the rules: “Because it lends legitimacy to something that is completely and utterly absurd… I’m not going to entertain it because I’m absolutely confident no rules were broken – not least because this was investigated last time the Conservatives tried to sling mud at us and Keir Starmer was found to be completely in the clear.”
  • She added: “He is Mr Rules. He does not break the rules. He was the director of public prosecutions, not somebody who goes around tearing up rules when it suits him – in stark contrast to the the Prime Minister.”
  • On the row deflecting focus from other more pressing issues: “The longer we talk about this and the less that we talk about what is happening to people in the country, the more it fuels the sense that politicians are out of touch. And that’s what Boris Johnson wants.”
  • Asked whether she would run to be Labour leader if Starmer resigned: “We need a Labour government led by Keir Starmer that is going to be able to get money back into people’s pockets, deal with the immediate crisis and start to rebuild this country from the ground up… There is absolutely no question in my mind that we can’t muck around with internal debates within the Labour Party.”
  • Asked why Labour gained fewer council seats than the Lib Dems or Greens in the local elections: “We’re making progress in every region and nation now, in Scotland and Wales and in England… This was the turning point for us.”
  • Asked whether Labour needs to be bolder to tackle the ‘cost-of-living crisis’: “We’ve been pretty bold so far… We have a lot of debate in the Labour Party about whether to be radical, I think the key is to be relevant.”
  • On Labour’s position on a border poll in Northern Ireland: “We believe in the UK. We’re not neutral about that… We respect the Good Friday Agreement and we would play our role in government as an honest broker of that.”
  • On the Northern Ireland Assembly elections: “People were voting for change. But that does not equate to voting to trigger a border poll. The Good Friday Agreement is absolutely clear that there has to be a clear majority for that in Northern Ireland before that is triggered and I don’t think that those conditions have in any sense been met. Most of the major parties, including Sinn Féin, fought these elections on the cost-of-living crisis.”

Dominic Raab told viewers that he is “confident” that Johnson can win the next general election despite the Conservative Party losing nearly 500 seats in England, Wales, and Scotland in the local elections last week.

Asked whether the elections had been a “disaster for the Conservatives”, the deputy Prime Minister argued that they had been a “mixed bag” and “challenging” but claimed that the way people vote in local elections and general elections are “two wholly different things”.

Sunday Morning

Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Lisa Nandy also appeared on Sunday Morning today, insisting that Starmer has told the truth about his trip to Durham and pointing out that the incident in question had already been investigated by the same police service.

  • Asked whether Starmer’s curry was a pre-planned event: “It was a work visit, which is always planned. We don’t just wander around the country trying to make speeches. We plan out a visit in advance and that included a few times during the day when the people on that visit will have stopped to eat.”
  • On whether Starmer is telling the truth: “He is telling the truth. Every visit I’ve been on with Labour leaders, whether it’s Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn or Keir Starmer, over the last 12 years – when we’ve stopped to eat what we’ve done, typically, is run through different questions that have come up over the time the politicians have been out.”
  • Asked whether Starmer’s case is that different to the circumstances in which Rishi Sunak was fined: “[Sunak] was fined for a culture in Downing Street that allowed all of those different events that happened… He sat next to Boris Johnson for months on end while Boris Johnson denied that any of these things even happened – let alone that they were there.”
  • Asked why she is not calling for Starmer to resign if it turns out he did break the law: “Because I don’t believe he did break the law. He’s already been investigated for this after the Conservative Party flung mud at him last time and was cleared by the same police force.”
  • She added: “[Starmer] was the director of public prosecutions. He makes rules, he doesn’t break them. He self-isolated six times during the pandemic. I honestly don’t think I know a single person who self-isolated that many times… He’s careful, he’s conscientious. They can fling as much mud as they like, it simply isn’t going to stick.”
  • On Labour’s call for Johnson to resign while under police investigation, before he had been fined for breaching the coronavirus rules: “Because Downing Street was under investigation for 12 separate gatherings.”
  • Asked whether the Labour leader would have to resign if he is fined by the police: “I just don’t believe that [the police] are going to do that… I’m not going to say he’s got to resign and entertain ridiculous hypotheticals.”
  • On the ‘beergate’ row deflecting focus from the rising cost of living: “This conversation is absurd when people at the moment are wondering how they’re going to get through the weekend without food in their cupboards.”
  • Asked whether Starmer made a mistake by spending time talking about ‘partygate’: “No, and in fact I appreciate the fact to set the record straight because there was a bit of grumbling in the media that Keir Starmer and I were divided on this – and we’re not… It’s right to hold the government to account when they lie.”
  • Asked whether the next leader of the Labour Party should be a woman from the North: “Well, in that situation in sort of 2040, let’s see how the land lies… The idea that Labour would spend the next few months talking about ourselves rather than talking about the country – Keir Starmer and I are absolutely united on the idea that that cannot possibly happen.”

Dominic Raab told viewers that the government is “going to have to fix the problem with the Northern Ireland Protocol”, but added that “we’ve had some constructive engagement from the EU, but not enough and we’ve been very clear that we can’t let matters lie there”.

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