Beergate: Wakeford and Holden clash over 'standards'
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Conservative MP Richard Holden was locked in a fierce debate with Labour MP Christian Wakeford over their respective Party leader’s alleged rule-breaking during the pandemic. The pair, speaking on LBC, became furious at one another as Mr Holden criticised the hollow moral standpoint Sir Keir has taken saying that he will resign as leader of the Labour party if he is issued a fixed penalty notice.
Mr Wakeford said: “I think Keir is very clear, as is the Labour Party in fact, that no rules were broken whatsoever.
“Rishi, however, walked into the Cabinet room, saw something that was clearly against the rules. He did have a choice. He could have walked away and turned around. But he chose not to do so.
“When Richard’s talking about the same standards, it’s clear that Keir holds himself to higher standards.”
Mr Holden interrupted: “Keir actually said, when he was holding himself to higher standards, people should resign when they go under investigation.
“And he’s now changed his position on that, so I don’t understand what standard he is talking about.”
Mr Wakeford said: “Richard, you yourself actually said that if anyone was to be found guilty, they should face the full consequences, whether that’s to be fined, to resign or to be sacked. So what’s changed with the Prime Minister?”
Mr Holden responded: “Just a second. The Prime Minister has paid the price, he’s paid the fine, and apologised to the House.
“The difference with what Sir Keir Starmer did, and these are exactly your words Christian, is he set himself a different standard.
“He said that if people are under investigation then the Prime Minister should resign. And he’s being equally critical of Rishi Sunak as well.”
Mr Wakeford said: “But the Prime Minister is still under investigation now. Should he resign now?”
The Conservative MP then erupted, lambasting the Labour argument that one set of standards applies to one group of MPs but another to the opposition.
He said: “I’m not Keir Starmer! I didn’t make that suggestion; that’s what Keir Starmer said.
“He won’t stick to what he holds other people accountable for and that’s the real thing here.”
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Sir Keir Starmer said earlier this week that he would resign if he was found guilty of breaking lockdown rules last April while in Durham.
Sir Keir said: “I am absolutely clear that no laws were broken. I simply had something to eat while working late in the evening, as any politician would do days before an election.
“But if the police decide to issue me with a fixed penalty notice I would, of course, do the right thing and step down.”
Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has made no such pledge, and is under investigation for a handful of further lockdown-breaking parties during the course of the pandemic.
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