Lindsay Hoyle Condemns Boris Johnson Over Savile Smear After Keir Starmer Targeted By Mob

The Commons Speaker told MPs that "words have consequences".
Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has criticised the PM
Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has criticised the PM
UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has warned Boris Johnson that “words have consequences” after Keir Starmer was abused by a mob shouting about Jimmy Savile and calling him a “paedophile protector”.

He spoke out after Number 10 insisted the prime minister will not apologise for the untrue smear he levelled at the Labour leader in Parliament last week.

Johnson suggested that Starmer was personally responsible for Savile escaping justice when he was Director of Public Prosecutions.

On Monday evening, Starmer had to be bundled into a police car after a large group of protestors confronted him and shadow justice secretary David Lammy outside Parliament.

It led to calls from MPs across the political spectrum for the prime minister to say sorry for his untrue claim.

In a statement to MPs, Hoyle criticised the “disgraceful behaviour” directed at Starmer and Lammy.

He told MPs: “I deplore the fact that members of this House were subjected to intimidating and threatening behaviour while simply doing their jobs.

“I know the whole House will join me in saying that we stand with our colleagues in condemning the behaviour they and the police experienced.”

Referring to the prime minister’s words, he said: “I made it clear last week that while the Prime Minister’s words were not disorderly they were inappropriate.

“As I said then, these sorts of comments only inflame opinions and generate disregard for the House and it is not acceptable.

“Our words have consequences and we should always be mindful of the fact.”

Following a storm of criticism, Johnson eventually “clarified” his comments by insisting he did not hold Starmer personally responsible for Savile not being prosecuted.

But following the mob ambush, senior Conservative MPs have led calls for the PM to withdraw his remarks entirely and apologise for them.

At a briefing for journalists, the PM’s official spokesman said: “Clearly these sorts of incidents are unacceptable. We respect everyone’s right to protest peacefully, but not when they seek to harass individuals.”


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