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Boris Johnson’s statement about the Sue Gray ‘update’ on Partygate is continuing to cause outrage this week after the prime minister attacked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for “failing to prosecute” Jimmy Savile.
Sir Keir watched on with a stony glare while Mr Johnson criticised the opposition leader’s previous role as director of public prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
“This leader of the opposition - a former director of public prosecutions, Mr Speaker - it turns out he spent most of his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile as far as I can make out,” Mr Johnson told MPs on Monday.
The claim itself has previously been disproven by independent fact-checkers, with Full Fact pointing out in June 2020 that Starmer “wasn’t the reviewing lawyer” for the case into the serial sex offender.
“Mr Starmer was head of the CPS when the decision was made not to prosecute Savile but he was not the reviewing lawyer for the case. An official investigation commissioned later by Starmer criticised both prosecutors and police for their handling of the allegations,” their verdict read.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s Reality Check team said it had “found no evidence that Sir Keir was involved at any point in the decision” not to charge Savile, and the Labour leader himself told Sky News’ Kay Burley that it was “a ridiculous slur peddled by right-wing trolls”.
Elsewhere, LBC host James O’Brien slammed Mr Johnson’s performance, telling listeners of his show on Tuesday that the scenes “have no place in a functioning democracy”.
“The way in which Boris Johnson infects everything and everybody he comes into contact with has, in the last fortnight, extended to the Metropolitan Police Service and our sovereign parliament.
“Some of the comments he made yesterday in response to the best speech, by some distance, of Keir Starmer’s career are beneath contempt, regardless of your politics,” he said.
'Yesterday's scenes in the House of Commons have no place in a functioning democracy': James O'Brien reacts to Boris Johnson's contemptible Jimmy Savile slur against Keir Starmer.\n\email@example.com/4cLGXhQKUH
He went on to add “if you care one jot” for the UK, then “you should have felt deep, deep disgust” at the Conservative Party leader’s performance on Monday.
“It is almost impossible to keep a lid, or to keep a grip, upon things. The way in which we’ve gone from the claim that there weren’t any parties; to the claim that the rules were obeyed and there may have been gatherings; to the claim that ‘if there were, I certainly didn’t know about them or attend them’; to the claim ‘well, actually, they were, and I did know about them because I did attend them, but I didn’t realise they were a party’; to the defence of birthday cakes and now claims of a Abba-themed knees up in an actual prime ministerial flat.
“You start talking about one scandal, and then the snowballing effect of that scandal, ie the parties – or as we prefer to call it, the breaking of the laws that the rest of us obeyed, by the man who made the laws and then lied about them, including in parliament,” Mr O’Brien vented.
Twitter users have since responded to the clip to say the presenter’s monologue on the prime minister’s statement us “spot on”:
truly magnificent speech from James.. go back and listen to the whole ten minute opening at 10am on lbc if you can
If you at a loss, to how we got here and what is happening. Have a listen to @mrjamesob he has helped me find sense, or at least feel slightly better many times since 2016.https://twitter.com/lbc/status/1488462835495718915\u00a0\u2026