Sir Keir Starmer has been rescued by police officers after he was surrounded by a mob shouting abuse and Jimmy Saville smears outside Parliament.
Footage of the incident showed the Labour leader being bundled into a police vehicle after protestors were heard angrily saying “traitor”, “Jimmy Savile” and accusing him of “protecting peadophiles”.
Officers were forced to step in to protect Sir Keir, who was walking alongside the shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, as a group followed him from outside Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, to one of Parliament’s entrances.
It comes just a week after Boris Johnson faced fury from parliamentarians, including his own MPs, after he falsely accused Sir Keir of failing to prosecute Savile while Director of Public Prosecutions.
One of the prime minister’s senior advisers and longstanding ally, Munira Mirza, also resigned over the “scurrilous” accusation that the prime minister has declined to withdraw.
After the incident, Mr Lammy said: “No surprise the conspiracy thugs who harassed Keir Starmer & I repeated slurs we heard from Boris Johnson last week at the despatch box.”
“Intimidation, harassment and lies have no place in our democracy,” he added. “And they won’t ever stop me doing my job.”
Describing the scenes outside Parliament on Monday evening as “appalling”, the former Conservative cabinet minister Julian Smith added: “It is really important for our democracy and for his [Sir Keir’s] security that the false Savile slurs made against him are withdrawn in full.”
The Independent understands Sir Keir was not harmed during the incident and was back at his office desk shortly after being driven away in a police car.
The Labour MP Chris Bryant told The Independent: “Boris Johnson has incited this and I think he has done it deliberately. There is nothing unintentional about this. He wants this kind of thing to happen, to hide his moral vacuum.
“It’s remarkably reminiscent of a year ago, with the storming of the Capital on 6 January 2021.
“Silence and refusing to apologise doesn’t cut it. He has to completely withdraw what he said and do so abjectly.”
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, thanked police for their “swift intervention”, adding: “This is what happens when fake news is amplified and given credibility by people who should know better”.
A Metropolitan Police statement said: “Shortly after 5.10pm on Monday, February 7, a man who had been surrounded by a group of protestors near to New Scotland Yard, was taken away from the scene by a police car.”
They added: “A man and a woman were arrested at the scene for assault of an emergency worker after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer. They have been taken into custody”.