LABOUR leader Keir Starmer has said the police decision to clear him following allegations that he broke lockdown rules when drinking a beer in an office showed the “contrast” with No 10 and the partygate claims.

Durham Constabulary said they do not believe any offence was committed in April 2021 when Starmer was pictured with a bottle of beer in the office of City of Durham MP Mary Foy in the run-up to the Hartlepool by-election.

Starmer said police opting to dismiss the claims, which Labour had said related to a work event, painted a different picture from Boris Johnson’s situation, with the Prime Minister embroiled in an investigation into Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street.

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The publication last week of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s interim report into alleged lockdown breaches at the top of Government revealed that law enforcement officers are investigating all but four of the 16 events she probed.

Reports have suggested the Prime Minister may have attended as many as six of the possible gatherings being reviewed by police.

Starmer, asked by broadcasters in south London whether he is “relieved” by Durham Police’s announcement, said: “I was clear throughout that no rules were broken.

“And here’s the contrast – only last Monday we got the overview from Sue Gray, and 12 cases being referred to the Metropolitan Police in relation to the Prime Minister and the goings-on in Downing Street.

“Because the Metropolitan Police consider there was evidence not only of offences, but they were serious enough and flagrant enough to put aside their usual rule that they won’t investigate 12 months after the event.

“So that’s a huge contrast, as there always was in this case.”

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A spokesperson for the North East of England force said: “Durham Constabulary has reviewed video footage recorded in Durham on April 30, 2021.

“We do not believe an offence has been established in relation to the legislation and guidance in place at that time and will therefore take no further action in relation to this matter.”

Starmer had previously told LBC Radio the restrictions at the time of the office beer allowed people to work, and that the gathering in question had been related to campaigning.

He said no restaurants or pubs were open and the hotel he and colleagues were staying in did not serve food, so “if you didn’t get a takeaway then our team wasn’t eating that evening”.