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POLL: Should Boris Johnson apologise to Keir Starmer for Savile 'slur' once and for all?

Videos on social media show Sir Keir Starmer being escorted into a police car on the Victoria Embankment near Parliament just after 5pm on Monday. The Labour leader can be seen surrounded by protesters repeatedly shouting “traitor” — some can be heard criticising Sir Keir for supporting Covid vaccines, but others are heard accusing him of “protecting paedophiles” and shouting “Jimmy Savile” and “you should be hung”. 

Westminster is abuzz this morning with fresh calls for Boris Johnson to apologise after the ugly scenes. 

Julian Smith, a former Northern Ireland secretary under Mr Johnson, said it was important for democracy, as well as Sir Keir’s security, that “the false Savile slurs made against him are withdrawn in full”.

Fellow Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the Commons defence committee, told Mr Johnson to “apologise please”, adding: “Let’s stop this drift towards a Trumpian style of politics from becoming the norm.”

And senior Tory MP Sir Roger Gale said he feared the “grim scenes” outside Parliament were “the direct result of the deliberately careless use of language in the Chamber”.

READ MORE: ‘Fuel to fire!’ Tory fury as Boris ordered to withdraw Starmer attack

Tory MP Rob Largan also said it was time to defuse the situation. 

He said: “Words matter. What we say and how we say it echoes out far beyond parliament. It can have serious real-world consequences. 

“Elected representatives have a responsibility to lower the temperature of debate, not add fuel to the fire.”

In a tweet, Mr Johnson did not address the nature of the attacks on Sir Keir. 

He wrote: “The behaviour directed at the Leader of the Opposition tonight is absolutely disgraceful. 

“All forms of harassment of our elected representatives are completely unacceptable.”

The Savile accusation has long been touted among far-right groups, including the anti-immigrant neo-fascist Proud Boys, labelled a terrorist entity by Canada following its “pivotal role” in the US Capitol attack last year.

Sir Keir did not make the decision on Savile’s prosecution personally while serving as public prosecutor, but has apologised for institutional failings after Savile’s abuse was revealed.

The Prime Minister sought to clarify his remarks afterwards, insisting he knew the Labour leader “had nothing to do personally” with the decision not to prosecute the notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.

But the damage was done, with a wave of resignations within Mr Johnson’s own team following. 

One of the Prime Minister’s closest and longest-serving political allies, Munira Murza, cited the Savile comment as her main reason for resigning. 

In her resignation letter, published by The Spectator, she wrote: “You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand, which is why it is so desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.”

Even Chancellor Rishi Sunak — the second most powerful man in Government — refused to back the boss, saying he “wouldn’t have said it”. 

Labour called the comment a “ridiculous slur, peddled by right-wing trolls”.

So what do you think? Should the Prime Minister apologise to the Labour leader formally? Vote in the poll and leave your comments below.



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