London Mayor Sadiq Khan today rejected suggestions he could seek to replace Sir Keir Starmer if the Labor leader is forced to quit over Beergate.
Mr Khan insisted he was ‘not at all’ interested in leading Labour should Sir Keir have to resign over his boozy curry in Durham last year.
Sir Keir’s dramatic vow to stand down if he is convicted by police for breaking Covid lockdown rules has fuelled fresh speculation about who could succeed him.
The Labor leader has taken a huge gamble on his political future by promising to go if he receieves a fixed penalty notice (FPN).
The same pledge has also been made by Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner.
But, despite being among those touted as Sir Keir’s likeliest successors, Mr Khan ruled out a future Labor leadership bid.
Asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning program as to whether he had ambitions to lead his party, the London major replied: ‘Not at all.’
Sadiq Khan insisted he was ‘not at all’ interested in leading Labour should Sir Keir Starmer have to resign over his boozy curry in Durham last year
Sir Keir’s dramatic vow to stand down if he is convicted by police for breaking Covid lockdown rules has fuelled fresh speculation about who could succeed him
The Labour leader was pictured sipping a beer as he shared a takeaway with colleagues at what he has repeatedly insisted was a ‘work event’ in Durham in April last year
Mr Khan also became the latest Labor figure to attempt to draw a comparison between Sir Keir’s Beergate row and the Partygate scandal faced by Boris Johnson.
‘It is a good compare and contrast about the integrity of Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner versus Johnson and [Rishi] Sunak, ‘he added.
‘The public should understand that one of these characters, Boris Johnson, presided over a culture of law-breaking.
‘The other guy has the integrity to say,’ You know what? If there is a fixed-penalty notice, I’ll quit ‘.’
Durham Police are still investigating allegations of a lockdown breach in relation to Sir Keir’s Friday night gathering – which was also attended by Ms Rayner – in April 2021.
The Labor leader was pictured sipping a beer as he shared a takeaway with colleagues at what he has repeatedly insisted was a ‘work event’.
Sir Keir has claimed he and Labor officials returned to their duties after the boozy curry in the run-up to local council elections and the Hartlepool by-election.
At the time of the Durham event, England was in the ‘Step 2’ rules that banned people from gathering indoors with people not from your own household.
However, there was an exemption for ‘work purposes’.
Sir Keir has insisted the event was ‘perfectly legal’ and rejected ‘ridiculous’ comparisons with Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street.
Labor last week confirmed both Sir Keir and Ms Rayner have now receieved police questionnaires about the Durham gathering.
The opposition fears that Sir Keir could be convicted over Beergate are said to have grown after Durham Police confirmed they are following tough national guidelines on lockdown offences.
Meanwhile, Mr Khan kept up his pressure on the Metropolitan Police to explain their reasons for issuing fines as part of the Partygate scandal.
The Prime Minister received only one FPN – for his 56th birthday bash in Number 10 in June 2020 – despite having also been present at other events for which fines were issued.
Mr Khan claimed Scotland Yard’s rationale for fining people looks ‘odd’ in relation to pictures of Downing Street parties published in the report by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
‘I accept it does look odd in relation to the photographs we’ve now seen, in relation to the knowledge we now have of who received a fixed-penalty notice and who didn’t,’ the London major said.
‘What is undisputed is there was a culture of law-breaking in Downing Street. No other property in the country received this many fines. ‘
Mr Khan suggested ongoing legal action, being brought in part by former Met Police chief and Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick, could shed more light on how and why Partygate fines were issued.
‘What we don’t want is the perception to be given that it is one rule for them, the rule-makers, and one rule for the rest of us,’ he said.
‘What I’ve not seen and what Lord Paddick will probably see in the court case is the evidence for each individual case.
‘I’ve just seen the one photograph we saw in relation to Boris Johnson raising his glass – clearly a party atmosphere.
‘I’ve not seen the responses to the questionnaires or the other photographs. That’s why it is right and proper for the court case to go ahead and for this to be looked into. ‘
Lawyers for Lord Paddick have said they wisely judicially review the ‘apparent failure’ of Scotland Yard to ‘adequately investigate or investigate at all’ the PM’s participation in three Number 10 leaving dos.
Mr Khan last month demanded the Met Police deliver a ‘detailed explanation’ of their Partygate decisions in the wake of Ms Gray’s report.
His actions prompted Tory fury and angry accusations of political meddling by the capital’s major in police activities.