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'Partygate... Beergate... many Covid rules were simply daft', says South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay

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A Kent MP has expressed his frustration at the ongoing "Partygate" and "Beergate" rows - arguing many Covid rules were "simply daft".

Conservative Craig Mackinlay, who opposed some lockdown measures during the pandemic, says the "vacuous" debate around alleged breaches by the Prime Minister and Sir Keir Starmer is "becoming rather silly".

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay

Posting on his website, the South Thanet MP describes how he has recently "bemoaned the fact that the media was devoting a massive amount of its output to 'Partygate'".

This refers to Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak each receiving a fixed penalty notice for being present at a surprise birthday party for the PM.

Mr Mackinlay said: "This vacuous debate has now moved to 'Beer and Currygate' on the back of videos and revelations that the Leader of the Opposition may have broken Covid lockdown rules whilst on the campaign trail in Durham last year.

"My view is that this is all becoming rather silly now but Sir Keir Starmer has backed himself into a corner because of his pious condemnation and calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation merely for being investigated by the police."

Mr Mackinlay, who describes himself as a "libertarian Conservative", is concerned at how the police are being dragged into political arguments.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

"It is now obvious that different police forces interpreted the rules differently and the rules themselves were in many instances simply daft, hence my objection at the time to many of them," he added.

"At no time should the police allow themselves to be dragged into political arguments but we are seeing a new and emerging pattern here across political life: use official agencies via complaint procedures in an attempt to destroy reputations with the sure knowledge that activists on social media will re-spin and do the rest."

Sir Keir yesterday said he would do the “right thing” and resign if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice in relation to a gathering in Labour offices in Durham in April last year.

But this morning policing minister Kit Malthouse said a resignation by the Labour leader would not mean Boris Johnson should also step down.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Mr Malthouse told LBC: “Obviously in any situation where, you know, the rules were moving around, there were misunderstandings or mistakes were made, and apologies are made and they are accepted, then people of all walks of life should be able to keep their jobs.

"But Keir Starmer has to speak for himself and set his own standards."

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