KEIR Starmer has denied breaking Covid-19 rules after the publication of a photograph showing him drinking with party staff in a constituency office last year.

The Labour leader said the incident was “no comparison” with the rule-breaking at Downing Street as he accused Boris Johnson of breaking the law.

Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Starmer was asked about the picture printed in the Daily Mail, which first emerged in spring last year.

The image, which was taken several days before the Hartlepool by-election, was captured through the window of a building in Durham and shows Starmer drinking a bottle of beer and standing close to two people while another pair can be seen in the background.

The country was at that time in step two of the road map out of the third lockdown, and indoor mixing between different households was not allowed except for work.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson to fire top team over Downing Street party scandal

Starmer said: “I was in a constituency office just days before the election. We were very busy. We were working in the office.

“We stopped for something to eat and then we carried on working. No party, no breach of the rules and absolutely no comparison with the Prime Minister.”

He added: “It was perfectly lawful to meet for work, which is what we were doing. The party that was put to the Prime Minister on Wednesday happened because an invitation was sent to 100 people saying ‘let’s have some socially distant drinks in the garden and bring your own booze’. There is simply no comparison.”

READ MORE: A timeline of Cabinet's boozy lockdown: ‘Wine-time Fridays’ and mini fridges

Starmer reiterated that Boris Johnson must resign “in the national interest” as he has “lost all authority” in the country.

He added: “I think he broke the law – I think he has as good as admitted he broke the law ... The Prime Minister broke the law and then lied about it.”

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “I can assure you the Prime Minister is both very contrite and deeply apologetic for what happened.

“But, more importantly, he is determined to make sure that this can’t be allowed to happen and that we address the underlying culture in Downing Street.

“There were failings: we should have done better, much, much better. We need to up our game, and that needs to be addressed, and I know the Prime Minister is committed to addressing that.”