Boris Johnson’s Savile claim ‘a ridiculous slur’, says Keir Starmer
Downing Street has refused to commit to a public announcement of any fixed penalty notice issued by police to Boris Johnson or No 10 staff as a result of the Partygate investigation.
The Independent understands that Metropolitan Police are not planning to name anyone fined in relation to the probe, raising the prospect that sanctions taken against the PM and his staff could remain secret.
It comes as Sir Keir Starmer and the Commons Speaker responded to the false claim made by Mr Johnson yesterday, that the Labour leader failed to put away paedophile Jimmy Savile in his former role as director of public prosecutions, branding it a “a ridiculous slur, peddled by right-wing trolls”.
Speaking to Sky News, Starmer said he could see “the disgust on the faces of Conservatives” in the Commons, claiming “many of them had expressed” to him their disbelief “that their prime minister was debasing himself by sinking so low”.
Meanwhile, Sir Lindsay Hoyle called for more respectful discourse when pressed on the matter. “Procedurally, nothing disorderly has occurred, but … I am far from satisfied the comments in question were appropriate,” he said.
Opinion: PM thought he could get away with Savile comment – it backfired
Our associate editor Sean O’Grady has his say on the growing anger towards the PM for his Jimmy Savile jab at the Labour leader.
It says a lot that, when Boris Johnson found himself trying to wriggle his way out of trouble, he should recklessly smear Keir Starmer with the old lie that he was some sort of accomplice of Jimmy Savile.
The fact checking service FullFact explains the background to this infamous smear as follows: “Mr Starmer was head of the Crown Prosecution Service when the decision was made not to prosecute Savile but he was not the reviewing lawyer for the case. A later investigation criticised the actions of both the CPS and the police in their handling of the situation. It did not suggest that Mr Starmer was personally involved in the decisions made.”
You can tell that Johnson knew it was a smear because of the slight hesitation as he unleashed this supposedly lethal weapon, and his insertion of a few weasel words in a vain attempt to protect himself if challenged later.
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 15:18
Watch: Rebel Tory says Partygate ‘more corrosive’ than expenses scandal
Rebel Tory says Partygate ‘more corrosive’ than expenses scandal
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 15:12
Jimmy Savile victims call for PM to retract comments
Victims of Jimmy Savile are calling on Boris Johnson to withdraw his attack on Sir Keir Starmer, a lawyer who represented some of them has said.
Richard Scorer, head of abuse and public inquiries at law firm Slater and Gordon, said he echoed “the widespread disgust at what we saw and heard in the House of Commons yesterday as [Mr] Johnson tried to distract from the Sue Gray update”.
“As one of the lawyers who represented many of Savile’s victims, I can confirm that these allegations against Sir Keir Starmer are completely unfounded and unjustified.”
He said the now-Labour leader “did more than any other director of public prosecutions to advance the rights of victims”, adding “no DPP can control every decision”.
“The Crown Prosecution Service was much better under his leadership,” Mr Scorer told reporters.
“Victims of Savile I have spoken with today have told me that they want Johnson to withdraw these comments and apologise and I call upon him to do that right away.”
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 15:08
Govt condemned for ‘wasting’ £8.7bn on PPE written off last year
Back to the UK, where the government is being accused of “wasting” billions of pounds on unusable personal protective equipment (PPE) and buying kit at inflated prices, after a report revealed the huge scale of losses.
The Department of Health’s annual accounts report revealed that £8.7bn spent on PPE last year had been written off – admitting to a “significant loss of value to the taxpayer”. Around £2.6bn was spent on PPE “not suitable for use in the NHS” and another £673m was spent on kit not suitable for use by anyone, the report discovered.
Labour said this level of “waste” destroyed Conservative claims to be “careful stewards” of taxpayers’ money, while the Liberal Democrats said the losses showed the Tories “cannot be trusted with our money”.
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 14:32
BREAKING: PM lands in Ukraine
Boris Johnson’s flight has touched down at a snow-covered Boryspil Airport near Kyiv, Ukraine, ahead of crisis talks with president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 14:30
Trouble at home but a warm welcome set for Johnson in Ukraine
“It’s a pity that Boris Yeltsin still isn’t the Russian leader, he liked to party, he and your Boris would have got on well together,” Nicolai Olynik observed. “Maybe all this fear of war could have been lifted a bit with a few drinks.”
There has not been much cause for levity in the Donbas, eastern Ukraine, amid warnings of an impending conflict and around 125,000 Russian troops massed at the border.
Nor have people here been following the Partygate saga in the UK in much detail. But the scheduled visit to Kiev on Tuesday by Mr Johnson has kindled some interest in what has been taking place in London in recent days, reports our defence and security editor Kim Sengupta in Slovyansk.
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 14:21
Watch: Dominic Raab claims PM knows Covid rules ‘do apply to him’
Boris Johnson knows Covid rules ‘do apply to him’, claims Dominic Raab
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 13:54
Tories waiting for ‘full facts’ before deciding PM’s fate, says MP
Tory MP Siobhan Baillie says the Sue Gray update report was a “non-report”, and said: “A lot of MPs – and I include myself in this – are waiting to have the full facts before taking … a decision about what should happen with the prime minister about these parties.”
Adam Forrest1 February 2022 13:44
Ex-Tory MP condemns PM for sticking by Savile ‘slur’ against Starmer
Following the news Boris Johnson will not back down from Jimmy Savile remarks he made in the Commons yesterday, former Tory MP Rory Stewart had the following to say:
It comes after a No 10 spokesman said the PM would “stand by” his claim that Sir Keir Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile in his former role as director of public prosecutions.
“The prime minister stands by what he said in the House,” the spokesman said, before refusing to repeat the PM’s words.
“As a civil servant it wouldn’t be right for me to repeat something which relates to a political aspect of the Prime Minister’s work,” he argued.
Sam Hancock1 February 2022 13:41
BREAKING: Commons Speaker criticises Boris Johnson for Jimmy Savile slur against Keir Starmer
Emily Atkinson1 February 2022 13:00