Thornberry claims Tory ‘attack unit’ are behind smear campaign
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The Labour Shadow Attorney General accused a Tory ‘attack unit’ of calculating a vile smear campaign against Sir Keir Starmer.
Emily Thornberry launched a tirade against notable Conservative MPs allegedly involved in pressuring Durham police to investigate the beergate scandal.
She argued the police force had been intimidated by a deliberate Tory campaign to force further investigation into the lockdown gathering of Labour members.
“The Conservative party has something called an attack unit which has been working overtime, according to the Sunday Times, with various people in Durham putting together something they have given to Durham police,” declared Ms Thornberry.
The Labour MP appeared on LBC to discuss the beergate allegations with radio host Andrew Marr.
“Do you think Durham police are being intimidated by the press?” asked the presenter.
“I think that the Conservative party central office believe that it is in their political interest to try to smear Keir Starmer and to try to make sure that all politicians are seen as the same,” snapped Ms Thornberry.
“There are people of principle and integrity and Keir Starmer is one of them.”
Mr Marr clarified: “So you dismiss the case against Keir Starmer completely, but if there is no case to answer, why do you think Durham police have reopened it?”
“I think that they have been put under pressure, I think that you can see it – not just the media, I think Conservative MPs, I think there’s been a campaign,” suggested Ms Thornberry.
“Are you suggesting that Durham police are susceptible to bullying?” quizzed Andrew Marr.
Emily Thornberry replied: “I’m saying that there has been systematic pressure and there has also been an enterprise put together by the attack unit at Conservative party central office – this is not being denied.”
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“And the police have folded?” asked Mr Marr, “I don’t think the Durham police would be very happy to hear you saying that.”
Thornberry declared: “Anyone standing back and looking at this with an open mind can see that attempts have been made to put pressure on Durham police.
“Tory MPs have been tweeting at them, writing to them, I mean what is the point in doing that if it isn’t to put pressure on them?”
The Labour Shadow Attorney General suggested Conservative MPs had used social media to publicly pressure Durham police into a further investigation of Sir Keir and the Labour party.
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Ms Thornberry denied suggestions of similarity between the beergate allegations and the partygate scandal.
The Labour MP had been among opposition members who called for the resignation of the Prime Minister when Boris Johnson was handed a fixed penalty notice for breaching lockdown restrictions.
Ms Thornberry was confident Sir Keir would not be found guilty of any wrongdoing as she maintained no lockdown rules were broken during the Durham gathering.
In a speech on Monday, the Labour Leader pledged he would resign from his political position if he was awarded a penalty notice by the police.
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