The police investigation into whether Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer broke Covid lockdown rules during the so-called Beergate saga cost just over £100,000, it has emerged.
Sir Keir and his deputy Angela Rayner were cleared of any wrongdoing by Durham Constabulary in July following a two-month probe into a gathering at which beer and curry were consumed.
The investigation cost the force £101,000 and took around 3,203 hours of police work, the Durham force told the National World following a freedom of information request.
Nine detectives and other staff from the constabulary’s major crime team were involved the lengthy investigation into an alleged breach of Covid laws, the response also revealed.
The probe was launched in May after top Conservatives pressed the force to investigate photos of Sir Keir enjoying a beer and Indian takeaway at a Labour office in Durham in April 2021.
But Labour argued that Sir Keir, Ms Rayner and staffers having a meal while campaigning for the local elections was allowed, insisting that none of the regional Tier 2 rules in place at the time were broken.
In July, Durham police announced that there was “no case to answer for a contravention of the regulations” because the gathering was “reasonably necessary work”.
Richard Holden, the Tory MP for North West Durham, was accused of wasting police time at the conclusion of the probe after he had campaigned for an official investigation.
Sir Keir and Ms Rayner had pledged to resign if they received fines in relation to the gathering in the offices of a local Labour MP Mary Foy.
Ms Foy said in July that it was “unfortunate that the desire of some Conservative politicians to score political points has led to so much of Durham Police’s time being focused on a matter that was already investigated”.
Northumbria police and crime commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “They threw muck and hoped it would stick. But instead, Richard [Holden]’s plan backfired.”
The Labour leader said in July that he “really hated” being subjected to criminal investigation. “I’m not like other people in many respects, who may say, well, it doesn’t really matter … it really meant a lot to me.”