UK Parliament watchdog probes Labour leader over gifts, earnings

The inquiry will determine whether Keir Starmer broke two sections of lawmakers’ code of conduct on registering interests.

The leader of the United Kingdom’s main opposition Labour Party is under investigation by a parliamentary official over potential violations of rules on earnings and gifts.

An update to the parliament website on Monday showed an investigation was opened into Keir Starmer on June 8. It is being conducted by Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, over whether he broke two sections of lawmakers’ code of conduct on registering interests.

A spokesman for Starmer said the politician “takes his declaration responsibilities very seriously” and that “administrative errors in his office have led to a small number of late declarations”.

Asked about the claims on Monday, Starmer told reporters that he was “absolutely confident” he has done nothing wrong. “My office is dealing with it and will be replying in due course,” he said.

The rules state that legislators must register payments of more than 100 pounds ($122) they receive for work outside Parliament. They must also register benefits like gifts worth more than 300 pounds ($366).

Starmer has also faced pressure after the local police said it would investigate allegations that he broke COVID-19 restrictions when he had a beer and food with colleagues in April 2021.

Starmer said last month that the meal was part of a workday and broke no rules, but said he will resign if he is fined by police.

Britain’s ruling Conservatives have accused Starmer of hypocrisy because he has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over lockdown-breaching parties in government offices.

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