POLICE are launching an investigation into claims Keir Starmer and senior Labour figures broke lockdown rules last year.

The party leader has come under pressure since footage emerged of him drinking a beer with colleagues in April 2021 in Durham during campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

Durham Police said they would begin the investigation into the potential lockdown breaches after receiving “significant new information”.

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At the time of the alleged gathering, non-essential retail and outdoor venues including pub gardens were open but social distancing rules, which included a ban on indoor mixing between households, remained in place.

A police statement on Friday afternoon read: “Earlier this year, Durham Constabulary carried out an assessment as to whether Covid-19 regulations had been breached at a gathering in Durham City on April 30, 2021.

“At that time, it was concluded that no offence had been established and therefore no further action would be taken.

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“Following the receipt of significant new information over recent days, Durham Constabulary has reviewed that position and now, following the conclusion of the pre-election period, we can confirm that an investigation into potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations relating to this gathering is now being conducted.”

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Police previously said they did 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”.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “We’re obviously happy to answer any questions there are and we remain clear that no rules were broken.”