The British Prime Minister is blowing hard again. The final line for controversy is the false accusations against opposition leader Keir Starmer.
The opportunity was debated in the British House of Commons last week. There, Boris Johnson had to endure harsh criticism over the exposed party scandal.
Then the Prime Minister decided to launch a counterattack against the leader of the Labor Party. He claimed that Starmer – as the former head of UK prosecutions – had failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile.
Savile is one of Britain’s biggest TV personalities. After his death in 2010, he was accused of being behind a long list of sexual assaults against minors.
On Monday night, the opposition leader was surrounded by a group of restless protesters in Westminster, London.
Video from the incident showed police officers escorting Starmer into a police car, while protesters chanted “traitor” and “Jimmy Savile”.
BBC: There is no evidence for the allegations
However, Boris Johnson will not regret comments about Starmer, according to Sky News.
This despite that BBC has determined that Johnson’s allegations are false. There is no evidence that Starmer was involved in the decision not to sue Savile, according to the media house.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister acknowledged that Johnson’s comments could be misinterpreted, but stressed that he later made a clarification:
“The Prime Minister made it clear that he didn’t mean to say that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for Savile’s decisions. (…) I think he made a political point by talking about taking responsibility for the organization as a whole ».
– Words have consequences
Johnson’s efforts have drawn outrage – especially among political opponents.
Labor politician and speaker in the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, accused the prime minister of “unpleasant behavior” after the episode with her own party leader.
– I have been informed that insults were directed at the leader of the opposition yesterday, related to the accusations made by the Prime Minister in the lower house. (…) Our words have consequences, and we must always be aware of them, Hoyle said in the House of Commons.
– He knows what he’s doing, said Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Sturgeon has compared Johnson’s remarks to “battery acid”, which would “shatter confidence in our policies”.
Need an apology
According to Sky News, he demanded that he retract his statement, and provide a selfless apology to the Labor leader.
– If he had the slightest bit of decency, – and I understand that it might be because of the lack of arguments I’m making now – but if he had the slightest bit of decency, he’d totally retract his statement, Sturgeon said.
People in Johnson’s close circle also reacted strongly to Starmer’s comments.
Several of his staff have resigned in protest – including Munira Mirza, a political adviser who has worked with Johnson for 14 years.
In his resignation letter published in ViewerMirza wrote that he thought Johnson should apologize.
Johnson: Not my fault
Johnson said it was not his fault if the mob tried to attack the opposition leader. However, in a Twitter message, he condemned the protesters’ behavior as “inappropriate” and “completely unacceptable”.
At the same time, the government is trying to weaken the link between Johnson’s verbal attacks on Starmer and the behavior of protesters.
“I don’t think you can say that this is why it happened,” Technology Secretary Chris Philp told Sky News and pointed out that other politicians have also been hit by similar incidents.
The behavior directed at the Leader of the Opposition tonight was truly disgraceful. Any form of harassment against our elected representatives is completely unacceptable.
I thank the police for responding quickly.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 7, 2022
Letter of disbelief
But the episode appears to have increased the discomfort many of Johnson’s party colleagues felt after the prime minister’s remarks.
Ellwood is one of 13 Conservative lawmakers who have sent a letter to the so-called 1922 Conservative Party committee expressing distrust of Johnson. This committee organizes party leadership elections. It is believed that some have sent similar letters without publishing them.
If at least 54 of the 360 conservative MPs wrote such a letter to the committee, it could force the election of a party leader.
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