An extremely worried Keir Starmer has tasked Charlie Falconer with putting together a Beergate legal defence team. Labour lawyers have told Starmer that there is a 60% chance that he will escape a fine, however the fining of Sunak over a cake has spooked Starmer that he too could be fined over a beer and curry. The irony of the legal and political situation is exquisitely painful for the barrister politician.
The same Labour insider who told Guido of Lord Falconer’s tasking candidly summarised the situation for Starmer:
“They’re sh*tting themselves, he’s told people he will have to go if he’s fined. I don’t think there will be much dissent from the PLP on that so long as Rayner is fined too. He’s put his fate in the hands of the police and lawyers now.”
The official Labour ‘line to take’ has evolved from yesterday’s “it’s fine“. The line now being repeated endlessly in studios by shadow cabinet interviewees is an echo of the Tory lines before Boris was fined:
When asked if Sir Keir should resign if he is found to have broken the law the line to take is:
To the relief of the Blairites Angela Rayner is as implicated in Beergate as Keir Starmer. Wes Streeting may yet get his turn sooner than they planned…
UPDATE: In another irony, Falconer has publicly opined on the situation of politicians breaching laws they voted for in the Guardian:
“… true accountability means facing justice in a criminal court. But not in this case – a fixed penalty notice does not bring any sense of justice done to those who paid what was very often a high price for obeying the rules.”
Which appears to be a demand that Boris be tried in court for his birthday cake….