‘I wouldn't have said it’: Sunak welcomes PM apology for Savile smear ...
Independent

When Boris Johnson stood up in the House of Commons at the start of this week, and falsely accused leader of the opposition Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he headed up the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), he sparked a chain of events that further entrenched him in political disgrace.

He had been attempting to bat off Starmer telling him off over the published but slimmed-down version of Sue Gray's report into alleged Downing Street parties but instead he compelled fact-checkers to tell him he was wrong, sparked criticism from across the political divide and even caused one of his closest advisers to resign.

He also got boot-licking ministers like James Cleverly and Nadine Dorries to go out and defend him to the media - without much success - so when his chancellor Sunak distanced himself from the PM's remarks yesterday it was a clear sign of how contentious they really were.

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Sunak was answering questions in a press conference about the energy price cap. When asked about the comments and Munira Mirza's resignation over them, he said:

"She was a valued colleague, I very much enjoyed working with her and I'm sorry to see her leave government, I'll miss working with her.

"With regard to the comments, being honest, I wouldn't have said it and I'm glad the prime minister clarified what he meant."

And asked if Johnson should apologise, he said: "That's for the prime minister to decide."

What a week it has been. After making the comments on Monday, Johnson reiterated them on Wednesday in an edition of PMQs after Starmer criticised him and said he was fuelling conspiracy theories with the remarks. On Thursday, it appeared he had backed down, as he told reporters that the Labour leader "had nothing to do personally with those decisions".

"I was making a point about his responsibility for the organisation as a whole," he said.

Whatever he says now, it looks like the damage has more than already been done.

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