As the Mail pieced together the truth, just how did Angela Rayner think she could keep her ‘Beergate’ appearance a secret?
But the truth was exposed by the Daily Mail – thanks to a series of posts on social media placing the deputy leader at the scene.
On the afternoon of Friday, April 30, last year, Mrs Rayner went canvassing in Birmingham ahead of the following week’s local elections.
She was joined by fellow Labour MPs Rachel Reeves, Liam Byrne and the late Jack Dromey.
She then travelled up to Durham – still wearing the same polka-dot dress – and met Sir Keir, with whom she had been campaigning in Lancashire the previous day.
Less than an hour before the infamous video was taken of Sir Keir and his beer, Labour’s leader and his deputy sat at the same desk to address party activists across the country.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner pictured last year at Redhills, the home of the Durham Miners Association
Their colleague Nick Thomas-Symonds wrote on Twitter that afternoon: ‘Tune in 8.30pm-9pm tonight for Labour’s Get Out The Vote “6 Days to 6th May” rally with Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner and special guests.’
He linked to a Facebook page hosting the virtual campaigning event, where the full 48-minute video can still be viewed.
As Sir Keir addressed voters by webcam, he was sitting in a small room in the Miners Hall in Durham.
A mirror on a mantelpiece showed the reflection of a distinctive fanlight window.
Beginning by ‘thanking every single person who’s on this call this evening’, Sir Keir gave a six-minute speech to an audience of 16,000.
Other speakers followed, including one from the US, before Mrs Rayner closed proceedings in front of the very same background seen during Sir Keir’s address 20 minutes earlier.
It emerged this week that Mrs Rayner joined Sir Kier Starmer last year at the offices of Redhills, the home of the Durham Miners Association
At 8.53am the next day, Mrs Rayner posted two photographs of herself in front of miners’ lodge banners at the hall and wrote: ‘Last year was the first year in two decades that I couldn’t come to Durham. It’s good to be back!’
At 9.45am she shared a video – also still available online – of herself and Sir Keir touring the building.
‘On International Workers’ Day, we’re at the historic Durham Miners Hall,’ the Labour leader declared to the camera. That same day saw Sir Keir and Mrs Rayner pictured in hard hats as they visited a building development in Durham.
Asked by the Mail in January if Mrs Rayner had been present at the Durham Miners Hall on April 30 last year, a Labour spokesman replied categorically: ‘Angela wasn’t there.’
However, on Thursday evening the party was forced to admit this was not true after the Mail confronted officials with video evidence of the online rally.
A Labour source said it was ‘an honest mistake’ that the party had denied Mrs Rayner was present at the event with Sir Keir.